Some residents also alleged that the police lathicharged them. The affected families had braced for a face-off and blocked entry by parking vehicles near the gate.

The civic staff had disconnected power, water and gas connections in the empty flats on Tuesday. The residents, who allege that they have been singled out for action despite over 55,000 illegal constructions in the city, spent a restless night ahead of the civic action.

Residents of the Campa Cola housing colony on Tuesday refused to move out of the compound, locking themselves in after the civic and police officials arrived for demolition as the deadline by the Supreme Court to vacate their flats came to an end.

The residents parked their vehicles near the gate, blocking access. They said they would not allow civic staff to enter the premises.
The Supreme Court had set November 11 deadline to vacate the flats. Families living in the compound had pinned their hopes on Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan stepping in and saving their homes by passing an ordinance that would regularize their flats.
However, so far the Chief Minister has shown no signs of relenting and accepting the demands made by the residents. Chavan did not want to go against the legal opinion of the advocate general.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had issued eviction notices to residents of the illegal floors under Section 488 of the Municipal Corporation Act last week warning them not to obstruct the civic staff when they initiate demolition.
The residents of the Campa Cola compound have had a long legal fight since 2005 when they first went to court for water connection and regularization and the court ordered the then municipal commissioner to take time-bound action in the case.
The municipal commissioner, instead of taking an action against the builders, served demolition notices to about 100 flats above the fifth floor. The builders had permission to construct the residential towers not more than five floors, but they flouted the norms.
The Supreme Court refused to regularize the structure. The BMC issued demolition notice on April 27 asking occupants of the illegal flats to vacate within 48 hours. However, the Supreme Court intervention had ensured that the residents get a five-month window to vacate their houses.

(Mid Day/Agencies)

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