Even as the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) had declared eight of the city’s oldest buildings as extremely dangerous for occupation more than a month ago, three of the buildings have still not been completely vacated.
Of the 23 residents who were remaining to be shifted to transit homes about a month ago, 17 have resisted evacuation and continue to live in the decrepit structures.
RA Survade, chief officer of MHADA’s Mumbai repair and reconstruction board, said, “The 17 residents are in three buildings. They were stalling the shifting till now saying there have been no rains so far and the monsoon is still not here. But after Wednesday’s downpour, we are making arrangements and will shift these occupants in a week.”
These buildings are called cessed buildings as they pay a cess to MHADA’s repair board for their maintenance. There are nearly 14,000 such buildings in the island city with some of them being older than 70 years. All these buildings were constructed before 1969.
“We will give these occupants alternate accommodations in houses that were built on MHADA’s share of mill lands in the island city in different areas such as Worli, Prabhadevi, and Sewri. This way the residents won’t have any grievances. Earlier, the residents used to be reluctant to shift as MHADA would give them transit homes in areas far from their original house,” Survade said.
Every year, MHADA’s repair board conducts a pre-monsoon exercise of surveying cessed buildings and drawing up a list of those that are hazardous for habitation, especially during heavy rains. This year, there were eight cessed buildings on the authority’s list of most dangerous cessed buildings, three of which were there on last year’s list as well.
These are the Esplanade Mansion at Fort, Goragandhi chawl at Khetwadi and Motiram Dayaram chawl at Lower Parel. Two of the other five cessed buildings identified as the most dilapidated are located on Falkland road near Grant road, one on SS Maharaj Marg near Chira Bazar, one at Girgaum chowpatty, and another at Vithaldas Road at Kalbadevi.