Residents’ blockade at the Campa Cola society gates on Tuesday.
Residents’ blockade at the Campa Cola society gates on Tuesday.

Showdown between residents and civic authorities ends tamely after BJP-Sena leaders broker a deal.

Mumbai :  The confrontation between Campa Cola residents and the civic authorities turned out be a tame draw, much like the Anand-Carlsen matches.

Residents’ blockade at the Campa Cola society gates on Tuesday.
Residents’ blockade at the Campa Cola society gates on Tuesday.

The day began with the residents barricading the gate with cars and shouting slogans against the BMC. At one point the cops broke the chains on the gate and the situation seemed to spiral out of control. However, BJP leaders Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Shaina NC brokered a truce between the two parties. Civic officials were let into the compound but they merely disconnected the electricity and gas connection of the eight flats that had already been vacated. This meant that the cops had no reason to storm into the compound. Meanwhile, Fali Nariman, Senior Counsel of Supreme Court, also said that there was no legal impediment in the way of the state government to issue an appropriately worded Ordinance before the deadline arrives for demolition. In the morning, the area around Campa Cola compound resembled a war zone with heavy police presence. The whole B G Kher Marg was off limits to private vehicles and the stage was set for action against unauthorised constructions in the compound.

Events gathered pace at 11 am with Shiv Sena spokesperson Rahul Narvekar arriving with his supporters.

As the BMC officials along with the demolition crew arrived 10 minutes later, the residents chanted “We want justice!” even as Narvekar along with Lodha and Shaina N C blocked their way. They were removed forcibly. Four politicians and three residents were arrested but released later in the day.

The BMC said it would continue its action on Wednesday while the residents said they would oppose it. Meanwhile, Union Minister and south Mumbai MP Milind Deora said he has appealed to the residents to cooperate with the agencies.

“My duty is to represent them (residents). I don’t want to give them false hope,” he said.

“Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan

has been in favour of supporting residents. He understands the humanitarian aspect involved. But he also knows that there are legalities involved,” Deora said. Deora spoke of “collusion” between builders and local officials which led to the flouting of norms. “It is important to ensure that the builders don’t go unpunished,” he said.

Manas Joshi & Iram Siddique

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