Mumbai A day after the four-storey building in Naik Nagar Society at Kurla (east) collapsed and claimed the lives of 19 people and injured 14 others, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that they will demolish three more buildings in the compound.
The Naik Nagar Society has four buildings in its compound which are identified as A, B, C and D wings. While the A, B and C wings have five floors, the collapsed D-wing had four floors. All the four buildings were constructed between 1973 and 1975 on a plot owned by the then suburban collector of Mumbai.
While the BMC had already declared the D-wing as ‘dilapidated’ and marked it for demolition in 2013, they said that all the remaining wings in that compound were also declared ‘dilapidated’.
“All the four buildings in that compound were declared dilapidated. Between 2015 and 2016, we had sent several notices to the tenants and owners urging them to carry out a structural audit of the premises since it was in a dilapidated state. In May 2016, the BMC had also disconnected water, sewage and electricity lines in all the four buildings,” said a senior official under conditions of anonymity.
After the civic body disconnected the supplies, the occupants carried out a structural audit in June 2016 and declared the building as ‘repairable’. Following this, the BMC resumed the utility connections.
“After a report states that a building is in a ‘repairable’ condition, then the civic body cannot do much since it is a private structure. This same model of audit was implemented in all the four buildings and the audit was carried out at the same time,” said the official.
Mahadev Shinde, assistant municipal commissioner of ‘L’ ward, said that all the adjoining buildings were evacuated by the civic authorities on Tuesday morning and the occupants were relocated. He added that his office will formally issue a ‘Pull Down’ notice to the owners of the building before initiating the demolition process.
“The remaining buildings will be pulled down as a precautionary measure to avert any future disasters. All the remaining buildings are in a dilapidated state and Monday’s event has impacted these structures and made their foundations weak,” said Shinde.
He further added that the civic body has prepared a record of all the occupants of the buildings. “We can cross-check with them about their belongings before initiating the demolition works. A contractor will be appointed,” said Shinde.
Meanwhile, the occupants said that they will relocate to chawls. Earlier on Tuesday, locals told HT that each tenant would pay somewhere between ₹5,000- ₹8,000 as rent depending on the size of the flats.
“The rent was very low considering it was an old structure. Now, with this budget, we can only afford to stay in a chawl. We had already relocated to a relative’s place in Ghatkopar on Tuesday for a few days and have come here today to collect our belongings,” said Geeta Desai, a resident of B-wing. Desai used to stay with his family on the second floor for three years.
Satish Kshetre, a resident of the C-wing, who is a cab driver by profession, said, “Most of the occupants are daily wage workers. While some of them have shifted to their relative’s place, there are many who have gone back to their villages since they have no other place to live. It would have been helpful if the authorities could arrange an alternate accommodation four us.”
Meanwhile, BMC officials said that the civic body doesn’t have any provision to provide accommodation to residents who stayed in privately-owned dilapidated structures. “We can arrange for a transit camp in civic schools or halls, but we haven’t received any official request for this,” said Shinde.