After SC Order, BMC Gears Up To Demolish 35 Floors In 3 Months
In one of the biggest demolition undertakings in the city, the BMC is set to raze 35 illegal floors housing 140 flats across seven buildings in Worli within three months. The move will reduce to dust real estate worth about Rs 300 crore and leave in the lurch over 140 families living in the houses for over 25 years.
The SC, in a landmark judgment on February 27, had ruled that all floors above the fifth in seven buildings at the upscale Campa Cola compound will have to be razed. It also said the residents cannot ask for the floors above the legal five as marked in the original plan to be regularized. The residents filed a review petition on April 1.
Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte has appointed a special monitoring committee to oversee the demolition. The estimated budget is Rs 1.5 crore, which the BMC plans to recover from the developer and the societies later.
A team comprising workers from G (south) ward (labourers and JCB machines) and the building proposal department will be deployed for the demolition. The civic body has appointed structural consultant Shashank Mehendale to look into the logistics of the demolition and ensure the residents of the legal floors are not inconvenienced.
Under the chairmanship of additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani, the six members of the monitoring panel are Milind Sawant, deputy municipal commissioner (improvements), Kishore Kshirsagar, DMC (Zone 11), R S Kukunoor, chief engineer (development plan), S Bhattacharya chief engineer (planning and design), Uday H Kedar, law officer, C Chore, assistant commissioner (estates).
“We will invite tenders for a demolition contractor. If it was a vacant building, it could have been demolished easily. But it’s a challenge for the BMC to demolish the illegal floors because people are living in the legal floors below. A comprehensive plan will be ready in a few days,” said Adtani.
The BMC had leased the plot to the manufacturers of Campa Cola in 1955 and later, the firm sought permission to develop a large part of it. Then started a saga of illegalities, including construction of additional floors without approval, construction beyond the permissible FSI and occupying the building without an occupation certificate (see box).
Adtani said a new technique will be used for the demolition but refused details. “We have worked out a systematic plan and it will be done in such a way that residents living on the lowermost floors will not be inconvenienced with debris from demolition. The demolition work will be carried out in three months,” he said.
ANY HOPE FOR RELIEF?
A REVIEW PETITION HAS BEEN FILED
I think there is some possibility of relief, though the chance is not very bright. All the proceedings have happened under MMC Act, 1888, whereas the more appropriate law is section (53) of the MRTP Act of 1966. In matters of law, the later law usually prevails over the earlier one… Everything beyond permission has been ordered to be demolished. But under the new law, only components of unauthorized structures which cannot be regularized have to be demolished; the rest can be retained
Advocate Y P Singh
HOW THE ILLEGAL BUILDINGS MUSHROOMED IN WORLI
In 1955, BMC leased the plot to Pure Drinks for putting up a factory
In 1980, Pure Drinks sought permission to develop a large part for residential purposes
Seven buildings erected between 1981 and 1989
There is alleged FSI violation of 1,774 sq mt in total development of 19,600 sq mt (approx.)
During construction, BMC issued stop work notices and collected penalties from the builders, claim residents
But plans were never officially passed. Residents bought flats as builders said plans were up for approval when they had been rejected
None of the buildings granted occupation certificate. They didn’t get water connections; residents living on tanker water for 25 years
In 1999, residents approached HC for water connection and OC
BMC pleaded FSI violation; HC criticized BMC inaction and asked them to take time-bound action
In 2005, BMC issued demolition notices to all floors above the 5th; residents moved court
In 2010, residents moved HC to stay demolition
Next year, HC dismissed plea. Residents went to Supreme Court
On Feb 27, 2013, SC delivered verdict against residents. Ordered BMC to demolish all structures above the legal five floors and specified that society cannot apply to any government or political body for regularization
Affected residents filed review petition on April 1
Linah Baliga TNN