In a memo dated May 12, 2015, the assistant commissioner of C-ward which includes Kalbadevi, has put forth a request to not stall proposals for redevelopment or re-construction of old buildings that have a clause on waivers. The memo comes in the wake of the Kalbadevi building fire. Narrow lanes in the area had made rescue operations difficult for the Mumbai fire brigade.
The memo, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, says, “The narrow length of the roads made it difficult for the fire engines and other safety equipment to reach the spot..which makes it necessary to not stall proposals.” It says the move will reduce loss to property and human lives.
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The BMC had earlier said that the narrow lanes in these areas could only be widened after the old structures in the city were brought under the redevelopment scheme and the owners provided area for road widening. The residents and the owners of these areas, however, submit proposals only for repairs. They refuse to vacate the structures for redevelopment.
When contacted, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “I have to look into the memo. I have not see it yet. In any case, 70 per cent of the tenants have to agree for any redevelopment. That rule stands.”
While the rules stipulate that a minimum distance of six metres has to be maintained between a building and the road, it is currently only between 1.5 to 2.5 metres.
The memo adds that there are a lot of old, dilapidated buildings in the Kalbadevi Road, GSS Road, Shyamaldas Gandhi Marg, Mangaldas Road and Vitthaldas Road. “Since it is a completely commercial area, it has a lot of floating population,” says the memo.
Asif Zakaria, Congress corporator and member of the standing committee, said, “Such proposals are passed by the building proposals department and is sent to the standing committee only for giving information.”
Despite several calls and messages, Sangeeta Hasnale, assistant commissioner of C-ward, could not be reached for a comment.