The Campa Cola illegal structure –
The Supreme Court had ordered demolition of the illegal floors on February 27 and said the residents could not approach a government or a political body for regularization of the structures.
The Supreme Court however, had given a stay for the demolition on May 2 and had given the residents five months to vacate. The Bombay High Court on September 26 dismissed a writ petition by the residents of Campa Cola compound seeking regularisation of 35 illegal floors.
However, after pleading the Supreme Court for allowing them to go to BMC for retaining the area which they could, the Court has denied all the pleads and has extended the demolition till November 11.
About 96 flats in the CAMPA COLA compound will be demolished on November 11, leaving scores of residents homeless. The residents have knocked on every door in search of relief, only to have their hopes dashed each time.
In the calm of despair, they are even unhappy with the Supreme Court’s extension of the earlier demolition date of October 1 to November 11, as they don’t wish to live so long in fear and anxiety.
Almost 40 per cent of the residents in the 96 doomed flats have already moved out, some returning to their native places, or to live with their children. The rest, who are still staying in the upper floors of the seven buildings, are now praying for a miracle in the form of a government intervention, as they have nowhere to go and cannot afford to pay the rent in Worli area.
The Supreme Court had ordered demolition of the illegal floors of the Campa Cola buildings on February 27 and prohibited residents from approaching any government or political body for regularising the structures. The SC, however, relented and passed a stay order on May 2, giving residents five months time to vacate.
On September 26, the High Court had dismissed a writ petition by the residents, seeking the regularisation of the 35 illegal floors. But after much pleading with the SC to allow them to approach the BMC for getting hold of the retainable area, the SC put off the demolition to November 11.
Total number of floors to be demolished from the seven buildings
Stacking up the numbers
Of the seven buildings facing partial demolition:
2 have 17 and 20 floors respectively
2 have 7 floors
3 have 6 floors
The Campa Cola Case
When the Supreme Court ordered the illegal floors of the buildings in Worli’s Campa Cola compound to be demolished, people across the city must have felt a fraction of the residents’ shock. This is the sort of thing that happens routinely to slum dwellers, not to folks living in Worli, not to “people like us”. Even though millions of people like us live in illegal buildings that could, by a quirk of circumstance, face a similar tragedy.
The Campa Cola residents are both victims and participants in an irony that plays out all too frequently in Mumbai. In the 1980s, three builders constructed seven buildings on a plot that previously housed a factory owned by Pure Drinks. Despite having permission to build only six floors, the builders erected many more—one building has 17 floors, another has 20. One of the builders, B. K. Gupta, conveniently pinning the blame on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Gupta, who is now bedridden, says that it was understood that builders would exceed the permissible height and that the civic authorities would regularise the extra floors after charging penalties. Even though the BMC issued “stop work notices” between 1984 and 1989, it did nothing to actually prevent the illegal floors from being built and even collected penalties. As Gupta so aptly pointed out in a statement that can be applied to Mumbai’s real estate crisis, “It was a breach but legally approvable.”
The BMC had in fact promised to regularise the illegal floors in 1987. Rohit Malhotra, a resident since 1987 who’s been acting as spokesperson for those facing eviction, says that the civic body had agreed to regularise 67,000 square feet. It’s not known why the BMC didn’t go ahead. The same corporation is today tasked with the demolition of the illegal floors that it wilfully ignored. As is always the case with illegal constructions, it’s the residents who suffer. Like the folks who died and lost their families when a cheaply constructed, illegal building crashed in Mumbra on Thursday, April 4. For once, the bureaucrats who colluded with the builders were arrested.
But residents are not always entirely above blame. The 140 affected families claim that they had no clue(THIS IS NOT TRUE) (IGNORANCE OF LAW IS NO EXCUSE)that their floors were illegal. “It was a complete bolt from the blue,” One of the resident says. “The biggest bolt was that that BMC insisted (on evicting us) within 48 hours.” The demolition, which was supposed to begin on Thursday, May 2, has since been postponed by the Supreme Court by five months. It was only in 2000, Malhotra says, that the residents found out that the buildings had not been given an occupation certificate by the BMC.(OC) However, moving into a building without the certificate is illegal and buyers should make sure the builders have it before they purchase a flat by asking to see it. In 1986, buyers were told that the building plans had been approved. But they hadn’t been, which is why the buildings had no water connection. For all these years, the residents have relied on tanker water. They applied for a water connection in 1999 but it was only in 2005 that they learned they were living in illegally constructed apartments.
It’s a vicious cycle. Builders collude with politicians and the BMC to construct buildings illegally. Perhaps tempted by a good deal, buyers overlook the irregularities. Given Mumbai’s skewed real estate market where a 476 square feet MHADA flat costs Rs55 lakh, it’s not hard to sympathise with desperate flat buyers who naively or knowingly invest in properties that aren’t entirely legal and then have faith that the same system that allowed the buildings to come up will regularise them. When building violations are found out and flat owners are threatened with eviction, politicians lobby to regularise the buildings in order gain brownie points with their vote banks. When they get away with it, builders are encouraged. If the BMC were to take action against every unauthorised construction, then vast swathes of the city, especially the western suburbs, Thane and Ulhasnagar, would be emptied.
So the Campa Cola case is unlikely to be a deterrent for builders and buyers in the future. Like Pratibha building in the Sophia College Lane, which remains a shell of a building after eight illegal floors were demolished in the early 1990s, Campa Cola will be an ephemeral cautionary tale at the most. What’s needed of course is an effective means to keep track of building plans and permissions. This would open builders and the BMC to greater scrutiny and buyers would no longer be able to plead ignorance while purchasing flats. Recently the BMC announced that it was considering putting the plans of buildings online so that buyers can keep tabs on their investments. But since making the relationship between builders and the civic authority transparent is not in the best interest of corrupt officials, it won’t be a surprise if such a website remains only a plan on paper. In which case, breaches can continue to be “legally approvable”.
1) Why is no action taken against the BMC to permit construction of illegal floors. It is obvious that construction of 7 building in campa cola compound cannot be undertaken overnight. It therefore means that the BMC had turned a blind eye during the construction period.
2) Further, the decision by supreme court asking residents to evacuate campa ccola compounds, effectively means that builders can go scot free after constructing illegal structures. Why is no penalty or action taken against builder lobby?
how come govt collect stamp duty & registration for the unauthorised flats, can’t they check before registering before it?
& these politicians fighting for slums & giving them flats under SRA type of scheme by pinching the pockets of tax payers, which is common man, whose flat will be demolished.
my advice to all, don’t buy unauthorised flats, built slums, that will never broken.
Social worker Medha patkar & politicians will surely stand by you.
SUPREME COURT OR ANY COURT OF LAW, MUST FOCUS AND UNDERSTAND THAT A COMMON MAN DOES NOT HAVE ANY KNOWLDGE OF IOD/CC/OCC ETC., SO HE MUST NOT BE PUNISHED. IT IS BUILDER, MCGM OFFICERS, ARCHITECT, STATE GOVERNMENT(WHO TAKE STAMP DUTY – BLINDLY – AS IF SELLING COUNTRY IN THE HANDS OF TERORIST) ELECTRICTY DEPT. ETC WHO GIVE ALL HELP TO BUILDER. A COMMON MAN VISIT BUILDING AND PURCHASE PROPERTY. HOW HE CAN COME TO KNOW HOW BUILDING WAS DEVELOPED.
IF WE CARRY OUT A SMALL WORK IN OUR SMALL SHOP OR ROOM AND TINY DEBRIS/STONE ETC KEPT OUTSIDE ON THE ROAD OR GALLI, IMMEDIATLY A MCGM PERSON COME, TORTURE US, THREATEN US TO STOP WORK, TAKE NECESSARY AMOUNT AND GO. MEANS A SINGLE LEAF OF TREE CAN NOT REMAIN OR COME WITHOUT THE KNOWLDGE OF MCGM, THAN HOW 8 OR 10 OR 12 FLOOR CAN BE BUILD IN ANY BUILDING.
MCGM OFFICERS WHO ARE SEATING IN A.C. OFFICES SHOULD REGULARLY VISIT EACH AND EVRY SITE UNDER THEIR JURISDICTION, WHILE ISSUEING IOD/CC OR LIKE THINGS, THEY MUST ISSUE NOTICE STOP WORK NOTICE, ALSO GIVE IN PRESS, MEDIA, PUT A BOARD IN WRITING IN FRONT OF BUILDING, IF ANY UNAUTHORISED CONSTRUCTIONS IS CONTINUED. ONE OR TWO FLOOR IN ANY NEW CONSTRUCTIONS IS NOT BUILDING IN TWO OR THREE DAYS IT TAKE TIME AND MCGM OFFICER CAN VERY WELL CATCH ANY CONSTRUCTION BEYOND APPROVE LEVEL.
Blogs, Facebook campaign seeking support, appeals to chief minister for issuing an ordinance, residents of Campa Cola Compound are doing all these to stop demolition of their homes. All these net and bolts may not work in favour of those sitting in armchairs and posting requests and passing remarks. The Supreme court orders have to be complied with.
The demolition of illegal floors of the seven buildings in the Campa Cola Compound will be held on November 2.
Fearing contempt of the court, residents are not speaking on record but have vented their anger against the builder and the civic body on the social networking media. They have argued how the government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) could charge taxes and stamp duty of the building which was illegal. Now, the residents are hoping for a miracle.
The apartments in the Campa Cola Compound were constructed on a land leased in 1955 to Pure Drinks Ltd, which was later permitted by the BMC in 1980 to build residential apartments.
Pure Drinks and three builders went on to build seven apartments, two of which were high-rises of 20 and 17 floors.
Seven high-rise buildings were constructed between 1981 and 1989. While the builders were granted permission for ground-plus-five floors, some of the constructions were built with extra floors. The buildings are Midtown Apartments (20 floors), Esha-Ekta Apartments (8 floors), Shubh Apartments (7 floors), Patel Apartments (two buildings, 6 floors each), BY Apartments (6 floors), and Orchid (17 floors).
Under the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) rules in force at the time, the illegal built-up area totaled to about 91,000 sq ft. According to the plan worked out by the residents, they proposed to compensate 19 flat owners, forgoing about 24,000 sq ft, if the BMC agreed to regularise the remainder 67,000 sq ft of the 83 flats.
Although the civic administration had ordered the builders to stop the construction work, they continued with it after paying fines. The residents, who bought houses more than 20 years ago, say they were unaware that the construction violated BMC norms.
The owners of 102 flats living on the floors that are to be demolished had planned to get 83 of the flats regularised by the civic body and compensate the owners of the remaining 19 flats to settle the FSI issue.
7 high-rises with illegal floors
Seven high-rise buildings were constructed between 1981 and 1989 in the Campa Cola Compound. While the builders were granted permission for ground-plus-five floors, some of the constructions were built with extra floors. The buildings are Midtown Apartments (20 floors), Esha-Ekta Apartments (8 floors), Shubh Apartments (7 floors), Patel Apartments (two buildings, 6 floors each), BY Apartments (6 floors), and Orchid (17 floors).
If you are planning to buy a house, make sure your building is legitimate by obtaining the ‘legality certificates’ or your fate my end up as the unfortunate residents of Campa Cola building in Worli. A report in today’s Times of India says that residents of Campa Cola that are staying in the illegally constructed floors will have to cough up Rs 1.9 crore— the estimated cost of demolition. Not only will they lose their homes, but one wonders how they will garner this amount as they don’t even have enough funds for the legal battle. Residents of Campa Cola Society in Mumbai Residents of Campa Cola Society in Mumbai In February, the Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of the illegal floors of buildings in the Campa Cola compound. These buildings included Midtown, Esha Ekta Apartments, Shubh Apartments, Patel Apartments, B Y Apartments and Orchid. While the builders were given permission to construct only ground-plus-five floors, Midtown ended up having 20 floors, Orchid 17, Esha Ekta and Shubh eight, BY seven, and two wings of Patel six floors each. That the developer had not obtained the required permissions came to light only in 2005, after the occupants had been living at the compound for two decades. In May, the 140 families residing on the 35 illegal floors again moved the Supreme Court claiming that they had no idea their floors were constructed illegally. However, the SC upheld its order but granted them six months reprieve to vacate flats. Though, the residents had earlier expressed their intend to move a review petition in the Supreme Court, the Bombay High Court had in July said that the residents cannot regularise an illegal structure by buying additional FSI.
Many residents of Campa Cola compound in Mumbai’s Worli, whose illegal flats were to be pulled down by Civic Authorities on Thursday, are angry and frustrated even after the Supreme Court extended the deadline for demolishing the 140 flats in the housing society.
But like residents of 35 illegal floors, he does not have an Occupation Certificate. Their eight year struggle to regularise their flats has yielded nothing.