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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 21/06/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Civic officials warn residents but retreat suspend demolition googletag.

residents of the controversial campa cola society in worli in central mumbai put up a stiff resistance on friday preventing the civic demolition squad from entering their compound to initiate the process of demolishing more than 100 illegal flats.

the bombay municipal corporation (bmc) demolition squad led by deputy municipal commissioner anand waghralkar warned the residents that the civic body would file a contempt petition against them with the supreme court.

the demolition squad arrived at the complex in the morning as the deadline they had set for the residents of the illegal flats to evacuate had expired. the supreme court has also refused to extend the deadline any further.

many political leaders from the bharatiya janata party (bjp) the nationalist congress party (ncp) the maharashtra navnirman sena (mns) and the republican party of india (rpi) gathered outside the society extending their support to the residents.

women residents gathered near the gate and prevented the civic squad from entering the complex. residents and the political workers raised slogans against the demolition forcing the squad to make a hasty retreat. some residents performed a havan (a hindu religious ritual) hoping it would deter the civic squad from entering.

waghralkar held talks with office-bearers of the different buildings urging them to remove the blockade. the residents were told that the civic team was video recording the event and the court would be informed about their refusal to allow them to implement its order.

later the civic team withdrew for a couple of hours with waghralkar holding talks with senior bmc officials. he returned later in the afternoon and again tried to convince the residents to allow the team to enter the complex and begin initiating the process of disconnecting water electricity and gas supplies to the 100-odd flats.

by evening the team gave one final warning to the residents. the campa cola housing society office-bearers asked the bmc officials for some more time to discuss the legal fall-out of their refusal to allow the demolition squad to enter the complex. finally the civic team decided to withdraw but vowed to return on saturday.

most political parties have decided to back the residents especially with elections to the maharashtra state assembly due to be held in october. local mlas and corporators have written to the maharashtra chief minister and ministers at the centre to prevent the demolition of the flats. maharashtra chief minister prithviraj chavan however has pleaded that the government is in no position to help the residents. in the past the state government has over-ruled court orders regularising illegal buildings by enacting special laws. the controversial campa cola complex came up on an 18000 sq m plot in worli more than two decades ago. while the bmc had allowed the developer to construct nine buildings of five floors each the developer violated the rules and built seven buildings each between 15 and 20 floors.

a long-drawn legal battle ensued between the bmc and the residents of the society but the builder and the corrupt civic officials (who had apparently taken bribes and allowed the illegal floors to come up) were strangely not nabbed.

the residents claim it is unfair on the part of the bmc to now evict them for an offence committed by the builder many years ago.

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