Armed with fresh evidence, Campa Cola society moves SC again

Documents in possession of the residents show that BMC had passed orders to regularise the work carried out. However, the penalty to be charged was not finalised.

FP Staff December 16, 2013 19:00:43 IST
Armed with fresh evidence, Campa Cola society moves SC again

Armed with fresh evidence of BMC approving the illegal construction at Campa Cola society, residents of this posh South Mumbai colony have  moved the Supreme Court to reopen their case.

Documents in possession of the residents show that BMC had passed orders to regularise the work carried out. However, the penalty to be charged was not finalised.

Way back in November 1986, the BMC had collected  Rs 6.56 lakh penalty from builders of the Worli's controversial Campa Cola society to regularize its unauthorized construction work. It did not proceed with the regularization proposal, though, as the builders did not pay up Rs 4.6 lakh more after the civic body revised the penalty amount.

In other words, the penalty of Rs6.56 lakh (which the BMC later revised to Rs11.20 lakh) was for all floors, including those constructed beyond the permissible limit, residents said. While developers paid the old penalty of Rs 6.56 lakh, they did not clear the revised amount, leading to non-regularising of the floors. Citing a letter issued by then the BMC deputy chief engineer  in 1987, residents claimed constructions beyond fifth floor in all buildings were approved in lieu of penalty Another document, minutes of a BMC meeting held on January 15, 2002, states that the actual built area was 19,129.55sq m, as against the approved 17,355.45sq m.

Armed with fresh evidence Campa Cola society moves SC again

Firstpost

Documents and receipts in possession with Firstpost point out that on November 22, 1986, the then additional municipal commissioner had issued orders to regularize work carried out in the society beyond the approved plans and had levied Rs 6.5 lakh penalty on the builders. That apart, the architect was asked to submit amended plans as per the work carried out at the site. The architect and the developer paid the amount on December 12, 1986. The developer and the architect did not pay the balance Rs 4.6 lakh and continued to carry out work beyond the permissible floor space index (FSI) limit.

At the time, the quantam of built up area on the building over and above the permissible FSI was to the tune of 1174 square metres as measured  by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

However, the residents claim that BMC's penalty calculations show that penalty collected was not for just five floors but rather 20 floors.

According to the residents, a major 36% portion of the buildings, which is though beyond sanctioned plans, is within permissible FSI limits and can be regularized by paying certain amount. Residents are ready to demolish the 10% area beyond the FSI limit (maximum top two floors).

 

" If the BMC had already collected penalty for 20 floors why was this evidence not placed before the Supreme Court, asked Nandini Mehta, one of the core committee members of Campa Cola society.

The residents have alleged that the BMC did not reveal the fact before the Supreme Court that BMC itself had allowed regularization of illegal portion of building in 1986.

"If residents are willing to pay the balance to regularize the permissible FSI, then what is wrong,"  asked Mehta.

Moreover, the documents also point out the correspondence and notices served by the BMC till 2002 were only between the developer and the architect and the civic body. Not a single notice was issued to flat owners.

The residents are hoping that with the new documents in place, they have a strong case to regularise their flats and will not have to vacate their apartments.

While the society is still awaiting to here from the apex court, it has not taken up the matter with the BMC or the Maharashtra chief minister yet.

As on date, the Supreme Court has given time to the flat owners till May 2014 on humanitarian ground.

Between 1981 and 1989, seven high-rises had been constructed at the Campa Cola Compound. The builders had permission for only five floors, but constructed several more. One of the buildings, Midtown, has 20 floors. Another building, Orchid, has 17. The residents have been fighting a legal battle since 2005, when they first went to court for water supply and regularisation. Their long and difficult fight won wide political support, despite the opposition Shiv Sena heading the civic body and the ruling Congress treading with caution over court orders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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