Bulldozers enter illegal Mumbai building complex

Mumbai, Nov 13 : A demolition squad of the civic corporation, escorted by a massive police force, bulldozed into an illegal building complex in south Mumbai here Wednesday to start the demolition process as per a Supreme Court order.

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) action came a day after several hundreds of residents locked out the civic demolition squad and police by locking the gates of the complex and parking vehicles on the approach road to the seven high rises in Worli.

The civic and police officials Tuesday evening cut off the electricity, water and gas connections to a few of the vacant illegal flats and left the premises.

They, however, returned aggressively Wednesday morning and moved aside or climbed on the residents' vehicles, broke down the main gate with a bulldozer and entered the complex.

Many of the residents who opposed them were bundled into waiting police vans and detained even as a huge crowd of people gathered to witness the drama.

"Several van-loads of policemen and BMC demolition squad members started pushing us around to enter the complex. They even caned some of us, pulled our hair and misbehaved with us. The builders and officials have committed wrong, but we are being punished," said an angry resident.

Another senior resident accused Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan of double-speak by first assuring to take opinion of the Attorney-General of India and simultaneously ordering the demolition to start.

There are a total of 102 illegal flats in what is knwon as Campa Cola Complex in which a total of 140 families live, who claim they will be on the roads.

The state government refused to intervene in the matter though virtually all political parties, including the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine, have expressed sympathy with the residents.

The residents stuck to their stand that they have been innocent victims of the builders who duped them of their life-savings and now they are virtually on the roads.

The Campa Cola Compound is a cluster of seven high-rise buildings constructed nearly three decades ago.

Though the builders had permission to construct only five floors, they raised many more on various buildings. All the illegal floors and flats are now facing the demolisher's hammer.

The residents of the complex moved the courts and fought right till the Supreme Court, which ruled against them, saying the floors and flats were illegal and had to go.

--IANS (Posted on 13-11-2013)

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