The worried owners of 96 illegal flats in Mumbai's Campa Cola Compound society in Worli area have been assured of regularising their homes. The assurance has reportedly been given by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday.
The CM said that the illegal flats would not be demolished. Chavan "showed willingness" to take the opinion of solicitor general Ranjit Kumar and advocate general Darius Khambata on the demand of regularizing the 67,000 sq ft of permissible FSI (Floor Space Index) available to the seven Campa Cola buildings, The Times of India reported.
However, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities on Monday began disconnecting electricity, gas and water supply to the illegal flats. By Tuesday, BMC had cut the essential supplies to 90 illegal flats, as per the Supreme Court's order.
Even the state government sources said that while the gas, water and electricity connections will be cut, no holes will be punched in the flats. The flats will not be made inhabitable. BMC will continue its action on Wednesday also, the sources in the government added.
The BMC will submit a report to the Supreme Court about the action taken so far and then will decide the future course of action, said BMC's Deputy Municipal Commissioner Anand Waghralkar.
According to sources in the state government, once all occupants of the illegal flats vacated and handed over the keys to BMC, the government will write to the civic body to regularise the illegal flats.
"The BMC will accept their request to amalgamate an adjoining plot with the Campa Cola compound, add the fungible floor space index and say there is enough floor space index to regularize all flats. The proposal will then be put before the urban development department as a special case. It will be considered and approved before the assembly elections,'' sources in the state government said.
Even the BMC sources confirmed that they would not resort to the demolition of the illegal flats.
The owners of the 96 illegal flats had met the Chief Minister last Sunday. Chavan asked the residents to vacate their flats. But he promised to do whatever possible within the legal framework. The CM told the flat owners there would not be an irreversible damage to their flats.
The sources in the government said that the Chief Minister wants to ensure that there is no state government interference with the order of the Supreme Court.
Keeping in view of the state Assembly elections in three months, the Congress-led Democratic Front government in Maharashtra cannot ignore the plight of the illegal flat owners in Campa Cola Compound, claim sources in the government.
Demolishing the 96 illegal flats in the Compound is nothing but punishing innocent flat-buyers, while officials, builders and architects go scot-free, the sources argue.
Meanwhile, hardships of the occupants of the flats have worsened as BMC has cut the water, gas and electricity supplies. Now the shelterless residents will have to search for houses. Some of them said they will move to houses of their friends and relatives till they find alternative accommodation.
On 15 June, owners of the 96 illegal flats had appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene in the matter and help them save their homes. The special leave petition, filed by the displaced flat owners, will come for hearing in the Supreme Court on 30 June.