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Campa residents give in, seek President’s ‘mercy’

Campa Cola society residents, who have been resisting action by the civic authorities, on Sunday finally relented and decided to allow officials to cut electricity, water and gas supply of the 96 illegal flats. The decision was taken by the residents after they met CM Prithviraj Chavan.

The Campa Cola Residents’ Association, however, submitted a mercy petition to the President, seeking his opinion under Article 143 (1) of the Constitution, according to news agencies. The article states that the President can consult the Supreme Court “if it appears that a question of law or fact has arisen, or is likely to arise, which is of public importance”.

Ashish Jalan, who led a press conference after they met Chavan, said, “We have been assured by the CM that since we have shown willingness to abide by the SC order and allow the civic authorities in, some thought would definitely be given to those who are going to get dislocated.”

“How much will we fight against the government? The CM has assured us that if we let the civic body cut off electricity, gas and water supply, he will look into what can be done to help us within the legal framework,” he said.

Sources said that there was more to it than meets the eye, as this is not the first time that the CM has told them to allow the SC order to be implemented. Earlier pleas had gone unheeded. Civic staff will go to the compound again on Monday morning to initiate action.

Sunday turned out to be as eventful as the past two days. The gates of the society were locked as the civic authorities tried to convince the residents to give in. Women and senior citizens kept shouting at the civic authorities to back off from entering and razing their homes.

Campa Cola residents protest

Two women fainted at the gate and set other residents in a frenzy. Usha Shamdariya, a resident of Orchid Apartments, was taken to Bhatia hospital nearby, but was said to be stable later in the day, while Sunita Tebriwal was given medical care and sent home.

A woman lost consciousness when BMC arrived to cut off power and water supplies. 

Vidya Srinivas, another resident, said they always had hope and therefore felt that whatever they were doing to save their homes was not wrong. “We are only allowing the authorities to cut essential supplies. We are not handing over the keys of our houses,” she added.

“We will initiate action from Monday. The society will have to pay for all expenses borne by the civic body and the police from the time they were served the first notice. People’s money has been used and it needs to be reimbursed by the society, as it has dragged on the work for so many days,” said deputy municipal commissioner Anand Waghralkar, who has been leading the civic action.

BMC deputy commissioner Anand Waghlarkar talks with the residents of Campa Cola society. 

The civic body will also recover the demolition cost of around Rs 2.10 crore from the society.

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