Track2Realty: A builder nexus will render 200 families homeless or with uninhabitable apartments. The B.M.C. has issued notices to 140 residents to demolish all structures above the fifth floor of the seven buildings in the Campa Cola Compound, Worli.
The residents, many of whom are senior citizens or have young children, have lived there for more than 25- years. They bought the apartments legally and duly registered, while the cooperative housing societies have paid property taxes in full to the government, to date.
The apartments were constructed on land leased to Pure Drinks Ltd in 1955, which was permitted by B.M.C in 1980 to develop it for residential purposes. Without getting the plans approved, Pure Drinks along with unscrupulous builders, Yusuf Patel, B.K. Gupta and P.S.B Construction Co erected seven buildings, two of which were high-rise buildings of 17 and 20 stories.
During the construction period, the authorities issued notices to the builders to stop work. The builders were fined and they paid the penalty and resumed work. After the construction was completed nobody prevented the buyers from occupying their apartments or the buildings from forming co-operative housing societies.
Unaware of these violations, the residents bought the apartments believing that they would get the occupation certificates in due course, as was the norm 25 years ago. Since 2005 the residents have been in litigation with B.M.C. trying to defend their homes and save their families from being thrown on the streets.
Strangely the SC verdict delivered on the 27th of February, 2013, has instructed the BMC to pursue the demolition notices issued to all flats above the fifth floor. In the verdict the SC has even condemned those portions of the structures that are within permissible limits for regularization. The area threatened with demolition is far in excess that is beyond the permissible FSI. They have also included the water tanks and the lift rooms. While the demolition will destroy the homes of all the families with flats above the 5th floor, those below it will have to suffer without water and lifts besides tolerating dust and noise pollution created by the demolition.
The litigation was necessitated as Pure Drinks Ltd who by manipulating the syste, misguided the courts as well as the BMC, sold the balance smaller portion of the land, on which stands the now defunct Campa Cola factory, to Krishna Developers. The perpetrators of the crime have a double advantage. The additional FSI that shall accrue as a result of the unreasonable demolition of area that is within the permissible limits, in the 7 residential buildings, de-housing the ignorant flat purchasers, will eventually go back to Pure Drinks Ltd and they will be able to once again encash the same by redeveloping that much area.
Interestingly the demolition order contrasts sharply with the laws applied to the Ulhasnagar buildings or the Mumbai slum dwellers and forest land encroachers who were permitted regularization if they could prove occupancy from 1995.