Campa Cola case: CM offers sympathy, but very little hope

                                                                  

Mumbai: A day before the Supreme Court was to take up the case of Worli’s Campa Cola society, attorney general Goolam Vahanvati had no instructions from the BMC or the state government and municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte was non-committal. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said he sympathised with the illegal flat owners, but their rehabilitation on the same premises appeared difficult owing to legal complications.
   
“We have full sympathies with the illegal apartment owners. But their rehabilitation on the same premises or on the adjacent land seems difficult,”
Chavan said on Monday. “Accommodating them on the adjoining land will be complicated since it is reserved for industrial purpose. Even if the reservation is changed, it comes under Coastal Regulation Zone rules and, as such, there is little scope for their rehabilitation.” He said his government and the BMC will wait for the orders of the apex court.
   
On November 12, the SC had suo motu stayed the razing of the unauthorised apartments till May 31, 2014.

Attorney general’s idea could set bad precedent’
   
During that hearing, Vahanvati had submitted that it was possible to rehabilitate the illegal flat owners on the same premises. He said that surplus and unutilised FSI was available at the site and it could be used for a new building in the compound. The court requested the AG to file a proposal by November 19.
   
On Monday, when contacted by TOI, Vahanvati said: “So far I have no instructions.”
   
Following the hearing last week, municipal officials considered various ways to find alternative accommodation for the illegal flat owners. Among the options considered was taking back from a builder the part of the Campa Cola plot meant for industrial use. Also weighed was the idea of getting additional FSI under the 1991 development control rules, which exclude lifts, common passages and staircases from FSI calculations. Both plans had problems though.
   
Kunte declined on Monday to comment on the assurances given by Vahanvati in the SC. But a high-ranking bureaucrat said it was “not possible to implement the proposal mooted by the AG. If we do act on the suggestion, it will set a bad precedent and will be against the BMC Act”. The bureaucrat said the civic body was the planning and regulatory authority for Greater Mumbai under the BMC Act. “Our job is to examine building proposals and take action against erring builders. It is beyond our juris
diction to draft a rehabilitation plan for illegal flat owners. Even in cases of dangerously dilapidated buildings, we don’t provide accommodation to their occupants or draft rehabilitation plans,” he noted.
   
The official said that, not
withstanding the submissions made by Vahanvati before the SC, the legal position has been brought to the AG’s attention. “In the past too, we made our position clear. We are waiting for the Supreme Court’s orders. We will abide by them.

FINDING A WAY OUT NOV 13 |

 
As the Supreme Court suo motu stayed the demolition of the illegal apartments in Campa Cola compound till May 31 next year, attorney general G E Vahanvati proposed a few ways to find their residents alternative accommodation:
   
A new building can be constructed in the same compound to resettle the owners of the illegal flats
   
Huge unutilised FSI as well as additional FSI are available, which could go to the proposed society
   
The construction cost could be raised by selling the excess flats left in the proposed society after the resettlement

NOV 14 |
The next day, senior municipal officials examined more methods to rehabilitate the owners of the unauthorised apartments:
   
Take back the part of the Campa Cola plot from a builder who allegedly ‘acquired it without the BMC’s permission’
   
Change this portion’s land use
from industrial to residential and allot it at subsidized rate
   
Get additional FSI under the 1991 development control rules, which exclude lifts, common passages and staircases from FSI calculations

There were complications in the three ideas:
   

The feasibility of the cancellation of the builder’s third-party rights is uncertain
   
Change of land use bound to be a long-drawn process
   
The entire land falls under CRZ-II, where FSI remains at 1.33

Source : Times of India

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