Mumbai: After a stand-off of two days, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials will finally be allowed to enter the Campa Cola compound on Monday. For the past two days, they had been facing stiff resistance from the residents.
But finally, on Sunday, the residents caved in and said they will allow BMC officials to cut off essential supplies like power and water to 102 illegal flats in the compound. But they continue to say that they will not hand over keys to their flats.
They say they will explore all legal options to take their fight forward. "We want to be with the system and try and get the best that we can. We have not done anything wrong, but we are willing to compromise. We are hoping for relief by legal means, however that happens," a resident said.
Earlier on Sunday, the representatives of the society met Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan seeking help over the issue. Addressing the media after meeting the CM, the residents said that they changed their minds after two protestors had to be taken to the hospital earlier in the day.
"We have realised that fighting will not get us anything, everyone was stressed. We would rather go and work with the government. We cannot see our sisters, our mothers to be in hospital. Whatever happened today was wrong," a resident said.
In a face-off with BMC officials for the third straight day, two female residents of the building were rushed to the hospital. One of the protestors, a 60-year-old heart patient, broke down and fell unconscious while a second resident, who is an asthma patient, was also taken to hospital.
Thanking the BMC for the cooperation, the residents apologised to the government agency for their protest. "BMC listened to us, they can do anything they want to, but they didn't. We are thankful to them," a resident said.
Meanwhile, the residents have also filed an urgent petition with the President, requesting his intervention to stay the demolition of the illegal flats. "We have written to the President and have humbly stated the ways in which the illegal flats can be regularised. We have also requested him to pardon our society as a lot of senior citizens staying here have nowhere else to go," said a resident.
The Supreme Court had on June 3 dismissed the plea of the residents of the illegal flats against an earlier order asking them to vacate their apartments by May 31. Following the SC order, MCGM had issued notices to the owners of the illegal units to hand over the keys to their flats so that demolition could be carried out. However, none of the owners has done so.
The MCGM deadline for vacating the flats expired on June 20 and as part of their plan to force the occupants to hand over the apartments, civic authorities have decided to cut off essential services like water and power supply to them.