'Adarsh' building to come tumbling down

The union government is reported to have made up its mind to demolish the 31-story Adarsh Housing Society building located in Colaba, a plush area of South Mumbai, after 15 December.

While there was no official confirmation, several media reports, citing unnamed government sources, said the building, which has become a highly visible symbol of corruption involving the government, bureaucrats, and even the armed forces, will come down.

The housing society, which was originally meant to be a six-storey structure for housing war widows and orphans, was later extended to 31 floors, allegedly without the necessary permits. It currently houses powerful people who are anything but war widows or orphans.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh a few days back had blamed "systemic failure" at the local level for the construction of the structure, and gave the Adarsh Society three weeks to explain why bulldozers should not be sent in.

The building hasn't obtained clearances from the environment ministry under the coastal regulation zone notifications. The building comes in the Coastal Regulation Zone II. CRZ clearances were not even obtained for the original proposed six storeys.

Many years ago, some floors of a high-profile building called White House on Bhagwandas road near the Supreme Court were demolished as the additional floors didn't have the necessary clearances. In the case of Adarsh, partial demolition isn't being considered, as the whole structure was built without CRZ clearances.

On Monday, members of the Adarsh Society had moved the Bombay High Court challenging the cancellation of the occupancy certificate by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority. The power and water supplies to the building were also discontinued by the civic agency earlier this month after the scam was revealed.