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Mumbaikars living precariously in 'unsafe' buildings

Jun 16, 2010 10:27 PM IST India India

Mumbai: The incident of a wall collapse early Wednesday morning that killed 8 labourers and injured many in Mumbai’s Thane due to heavy rains, highlights the conditions of the Maximum city's 'unsafe buildings'.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has declared 700 dilapidated buildings across the city as 'unsafe' during the monsoon but residents continue to risk their lives in these deathtraps.

The Government has sent the residents of Maru building, the 105-year-old building in Mumbai's Kalbadevi area, a notice to evict, citing it as dangerous to live in.

Living dangerously
1. BMC has identified over 72 buildings on the 'danger' list in suburban Goregaon while the eastern suburb of Ghatkopar has 35 'unsafe' buildings that residents continue to live in.
2. Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) repair board lists 24 buildings as 'extremely dangerous'.
3. Civic officials insist that action will be taken if residents refuse to vacate.

Swadheen Kshatriya, BMC Commissioner said, "We will issue them notices and if necessary will forcefully evict them"

But why the resistance to go to transit camps? Residents say it’s because of their distant location, unappealing surroundings and uncertainty over their future.

Jayesh Thakker, resident said: "Our children's schools are here, we can’t go to Malad, Dahisar transit camps it’s far away."

For lakhs of people in maximum city, a roof over their heads is considered a luxury and often it’s a strong sense of homelessness that makes residents choose to fall with their buildings rather than live at the transit camps. Despite persistent government efforts during Mumbai rains, people continue to endanger their lives.

Unsafe Buildings (pre-monsoon survey)

BMC has served notices of eviction to 721 dilapidated buildings in total. Of those, 328 are cessed buildings (constructed before 1940),
278 are private and 115 BMC-owned.

In a fresh survey (with onset of monsoon), BMC has identified 272 extremely dilapidated buildings of which 226 are private and 46 are BMC-owned.

Transit accommodation is located in suburbs of Malad, Ghatkopar, Borivali, Dahisar, Sion, Chembur

In south Mumbai area, most tenants want redevelopment of old buildings through private builders but often it gets stuck in tussle between landlord and tenants.