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I Support Campa Cola

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November 10, 2013 by thejalebichronicles

Malice in Wonderland: Scorn for mainstream information that will shatter the image of Wonderland that we all have of the world

12 November, 2013 – A date that will mark the end of a chapter in the lives of 96 families; a date that shall end months of prayers and petitions. 12 November, 2013 – the day that the BMC will go ahead with the demolition of 7,916 sq. m. of humanity, illustrating once again how powerless citizens are against laws that were once made to safeguard our own interests.

Campa-Cola

In 1955, Campa Cola Private Limited acquired approximately 18,049 sq. m. of land and by 1980 had secured the BMC’s permission to build seven residential apartments of five floors each. Between 1981 and 1889, seven high rise buildings were constructed by the company in collaboration with Yusuf Patel, Bk Gupta and PCB constructions.

Midtown Apartments

20 floors

Orchid Apartments

17 floors

Eash Ekta Apartments

8 floors

Shubh Apartments

7 floors

B.Y. Apartments

6 floors

Patel Apartments

6 floors

The locale was good, view was promising and the price was reasonable: aspiring occupants poured in in response to advertisements. Unknown to them, in a cruel corner of destiny, our prestigious Civic body lurked waiting for the right moment to strike.

In 2005, the Corporation went to court for a water connection and regularisation problem. Instead of assisting them, the Court reprimanded the municipal commissioner for his inaction against illegal construction and instructed him to take time bound action.  The Municipal Commissioner in his turn, instead of enquiring with the Builders about his violation during construction, promptly issued 96 demolition notices to the flats above the fifth floor, since they were beyond the sanctioned plans. The area marked for demolition amounted to approximately 8000 sq. m. which was far greater than the actual violation area.

Frightened residents approached the City Civil Court, who granted them a stay order. All was well. Trouble loomed in once again in 2010, when Campa Cola Pvt. Ltd. sold the developmental rights of the property to Krishna Developers who applied to the BMC for permission to build. The BMC rejected their petition and also reopened the case of FSI violation.*

M_Id_380791_a

Krishna Developers took the case to the City Civil court who, this time, sided with the BMC and evicted the stay. Troubled residents moved to the High Court in 2011 and finally the Supreme Court in 2013. But no one was ready to listen any longer. In its final verdict, the Supreme Court granted the residents a five month reprieve and directed the State Government and Corporation employees to stay out of the matter.

Permissible built up area

17,356 sq mt

Area beyond permissible FSI limits

1,774 sq mt

Area that Supreme Court ordered demolished

7,916 sq mt

Where legal methods failed, religious methods were adopted. The residents took to prayer meetings and feeding the poor. They held camp all over Mumbai and Facebook groups were started. “Save Us,” became their regular greeting. Mumbaikars joined the campaign by the dozen, all in one voice against injustice.

DSC_0180

Finally, Chief Minister Chavan was approached. He simply shook his head, rejected the very idea of an ordinance and said that the Supreme Court could not be challenged. And so the legal press began printing – the final notice that spoke of the death of Humanity in the hands of Law – Law  that is indeed blind today.

Today, one day before the event, residents of Campa Cola have mostly given up hope. And I don’t blame them. Your home is the place you go to after a rigorous day of work. It is you’re safe haven where you seek happiness, peace and shelter. When this home is snatched away from you, and when you are on the brink of finding yourself on the streets – it’s very hard to hold back tears, to continue to be hopeful and brave.

When you have been a good citizen and always cast your vote, paid your taxes, never littered, and raised your voice to sing the National Anthem with pride on Independence Day, it is not easy to accept the injustice meted out to you by the very country in which you had faith.

Tomorrow, the BMC shall carry out its plan. The demolition will start and a hundred people will be homeless. Ninety people will be forced to give up their dreams due to economic difficulties. Eighty will find new jobs, new lives – but shall never be happy again. And I along with thousands of other people my age will lose faith in my country’s sense of righteousness.

Day after, the builders will come back. Advertisements will be put out, money will be earned; Campa-Cola will happen again. A hundred more people will be homeless, once again. Why? Because Indian Law finds us, and not the builders guilty.

Probably, it’s all over and nothing I say will help anymore. But the events beg the question: Why are the residents of Campa cola compound being punished by the Civic Authorities? Shouldn’t the punishment be given to the builders of this project who not only raised so many illegal floors, but also cheated families by selling them? Why are these gentlemen roaming scot free?

Shouldn’t the BMC itself get a redressal? The buildings were raised in 1990, and it comes to light in 2013 – after 23 years? There are numerous decrepit buildings in Mumbai that are threats to the lives of hundreds. If the BMC is delaying THEIR demolition, what harm are a few extra floors in the Campa Cola Compound (which is secure and safe and threatens nobody,) doing?

12 November 2013 can put an end to our prayers and silence our petitions. However, it cannot stop us from thinking. If we are the youth, and if we have a voice that will shape India’s future, we need an India where the innocent aren’t punished. We need a government who care. We need the 96 families of the Campa Cola Compound to be safe and happy and in their own homes because they deserve to be so.

1380688_609547185748593_426381824_a

I support Campa Cola

–          Shayonnita Mallik

*[FSI or Floor Space Index is the ratio between the total floor area of a building and the total area of the plot it is built on. In the case of the Campa Cola Compound the FSI was required to be FSI2 which means that that total floor area was permitted to be about double the total plot area.]

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One thought on “I Support Campa Cola

  1. Dixita Doshi says:

    Very well written ,Thank you for being honest and supporting the innocent residents who were being duped and were unaware of FSI violation. I have only one question to the authority who has given this order of demolition just keep your self in their place and think how will you feel if you were rendered homeless after 25 years. What must be going on in the mind of small children living in Campacola Compound. They will loose everything.

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