Mantri Mall ramp razed to a rump

Civic compulsion

Mantri Mall ramp razed to a rump

In the dock: A file photo of Mantri Mall on Sampige Road in Malleswaram.

After a warning on Tuesday that it would go ahead and demolish the ramp of Mantri Square Mall in Malle­­­s­waram, the civic body’s demolition men finally got cracking Wednesday morning.

With a virtual army of JCBs, BBMP officials and staff descended on the mall’s entrance and razed a part of the ramp that was violative of building laws.

But by evening the operation was suspended after Mantri Developers filed an affidavit seeking additional time. The operation followed Palike Commissioner Siddaiah’s statement on Tuesday that the ramp will be demolished within 24 hours.

The civic authorities had notified the ramp had to go because the congested Sampige Road needed widening. Early Wednesday morning, the JCBs, with police protection, entered Malleswaram to demolish the Mantri Square property, the adjoining Mantri Greens residential compound and the Sampige Theatre complex.

A part of the ramp was brought down and the Mantri Greens compound too fell to the demolition squad, before Mantri Developers sought additional time to shift their utility cables and power lines which were below the ramp.

Shocked and awed by the demolition, distraught residents of Mantri Greens residential complex looked on before they launched an agitation at the spot.  But it died down once the BBMP officials intervened.

In Wednesday’s operation, 108.08 metres of the ramp, 56.60 metres of the compound wall of the Life Insurance Corporation complex, 45 metres of the Sampige theatre wall and 50 metres of the K C General Hospital wall were pulled down.

Shortly after the demolition began, Mantri Developers termed the operation as “unjustified” and “shocking” at a hurriedly convened media conference. “The drive seems to have been taken up due to vested interests which saw the BBMP demolishing our property without prior notice,” said Vice-President (Liason) Kiran Kumar.

“We had requested the BBMP to give us sufficient time for getting our own hi-tech machniery to cut the ramp and avoid any damage to our property. However, on Wednesday morning they began demolishing the property without any intimation,” Kumar said.

Siddaiah had told the BBMP Council on Tuesday that a time-frame of 10 days given to Mantri Developers to demolish their own property as per their request had elapsed. Kumar said the group may face a drop of nearly 30 to 40 per cent in business on account of the demolition drive.

He termed as “baseless” the allegations that Mantri Developers had not fulfilled the pre-conditions outlined in the conditional occupancy certificate (OC) given in November 2010.

“The only thing pending was the construction of the road behind Mantri Mall which has been stalled due to technical issues between government agencies, BMRCL and BBMP over when to begin,” Kumar said.

BMRCL had allegedly asked Mantri to begin the road construction only after the piers for the Metro Rail project are raised to a certain level. Mantri Developers said the “unjustified” demolition had cost them Rs two crore which they have to bear. “We have taken this on a positive note and have learnt a lesson,” Kumar said.

The affidavit filed by Mantri seeking a month’s time to shift utility and power cables has been accepted by BBMP Engineer-In-Chief B T Ramesh. In its affidavit, Mantri Developers alleged that the demolition of a portion of their property “will affect the entire structure and the safety of the entire building”.

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