After nearly five years of controversy and court proceedings, the unauthorised Vikrant Towers in Kalwa faced the axe on Thursday amid heavy police bandobast.
The demolition began around 11:30 am before which the police checked whether all the residents had evacuated the flats as per Supreme Court’s order. All the 36 families residing in the ground-plus-seven storey building had vacated their flats.
“We didn’t have to use force. Everything went off peacefully. We have prepared seven teams with four members each for every floor. We have started the demolition manually from downstairs. It will take some time for it to be completed,” said deputy municipal commissioner (anti-encroachment) B.G. Pawar.
Hindustan Times had reported on Wednesday that few families had decided to stay despite court’s order. However, these families also moved out before the municipal corporation began the demolition.
“I don’t have any choice but to shift to my friend’s place. We had asked the corporation for 10 days’ time as the matter was due to come up for hearing today (Thursday). But they didn’t pay heed to our request,” said Jagruprasad Gupta (50), a fruit vendor who had refused to vacate his flat earlier.
But Gupta later was taken into police custody as he was trying to go back to his flat.
“The demolition had begun and he was going upstairs. What if he had jumped from the building? We took him in custody for his own safety. Soon after his arrest, another woman started creating a ruckus. We detained her as well,” said assistant commissioner of police (Kalwa division) Subhash Sanghai.
However, the issue has not come to an end with the start of the demolitions. The next Supreme Court hearing is on April 6.