While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation readies to demolish the illegal floors of seven buildings in Campa Cola compound in Worli and residents continue to make last-ditch attempts to prevent it, a larger question remains unanswered -- who is responsible for the mess that 140 families have found themselves in?
“When we purchased the flats, the builders falsely made us believe that the permissions were in the process of being cleared. If the builder defaulted on the permissions, why didn’t the BMC take any serious action against the builders?” said Ajay Mehta, whose 10th floor flat is on the BMC’s demolition list.
However, many, including civic officials, believe that the residents were complacent about the irregularities, a fact confirmed by the residents’ application for regularising the illegalities only in 2005, 17 years after the buildings were constructed.
Civic chief Sitaram Kunte claimed that local officers regularly issued notices to builders, but they sought stay orders and went on to add illegal floors.
“The notices were issued to the builders even when they were constructing the buildings, pointing out violation of the permissible limit. However, several stay orders were acquired from court during the last so many years that the work continued,” said Kunte.
Residents, on their part, moved into their flats in the seven buildings without demanding the occupation certificates and verifying the developers’ documents.
While residents claimed that they had applied for regularisation in 2005, the prospect of getting it was squashed as they had inappropriately applied for it through the Development Control Regulation of 1991, they said.
“We approached the BMC to understand the basis of the demolition notices, but we were refused a hearing,” said resident Rohit Malhotra.
Kunte however said that there was no negligence on part of the BMC authorities.