No moving these residents

Despite BMC warning residents of 959 dilapidated buildings,they continue to live in these structures.

Written by Alison Saldanha | Mumbai | Published:June 17, 2013 1:04 am

Despite BMC warning residents of 959 dilapidated buildings,they continue to live in these structures. There are 606 privately owned dilapidated buildings and 155 BMC-owned decrepit structures in Mumbai. Newsline spoke to residents of five cases in wards with the highest number of such structures.

Dagdi Chawl,Byculla

In Dagdi Chawl,Kanjarwada,Byculla (E-ward),a cluster of BMC-owned small buildings and shanties,tension prevails as residents here have been forced to vacate their homes for redevelopment. With 59 such structures,E-ward has the highest number of BMC-owned dilapidated buildings. BMC had served 11 buildings and 350 shanties a ‘seven-day’ notice. As residents refused to vacate the buildings,BMC officials along with police arrived there Saturday to forcibly evict them. BMC offered the residents alternative accommodation at a transit camp in Chembur.

“We have heard of many families that move to these camps and never return because of BMC’s delays. My family and I have lived here for generations,we will not move,” said resident Salman Khatoori. His family lives in a 290-sq ft room in a BMC building slated for renovation.

Discussions are currently on between the residents’ representatives and BMC officials for a solution.

Zaki Mansion,Kurla (West)

Three-storeyed Zaki Mansion on Pipe Road in Kurla (west) — L-ward — was first served a notice last year. Last Monday,when heavy rain lashed the city,a slab from the second floor collapsed. L-ward has the highest number (89) of private buildings that are dilapidated.

“The residents and I agreed to take up redevelopment of the building as but the landlord has asked us to leave. I know I am putting my family in danger but we have nowhere else to go,” said Ansari Mohammed Sameer,a resident.

The building,over 40 years old,has 13 flats of which 10 are tenanted properties that follow the old rent system. Under this system,tenants are charged meager amounts for years. This has led to ownership battles between landlords and tenants.

While BMC provides transit accommodation for residents living on civic properties,no facilities such as transit flats are available for those living in privately-owned dilapidated buildings. “We have approached BMC about this problem there was no response,” Sheikh Ilyas Mohammed Isiar,a resident,said.

Nazir Building,Kurla (West)

The 85-year-old Nazir building on Moreshwar Patankar Marg near Kurla bus depot first received a notice from the BMC regarding over 10 years ago. Residents claim that they have repaired the wooden ground-plus-one structure and there is little chance of the building giving way. “It is dangerous during monsoon as water enters the flats and drains are clogged,but we make arrangements to ensure the wood has support,” said Suresh Chaurasia,a tenant. While the wooden structure has 32 tenants,the two-storey cement building constructed over 40 years ago behind the structure has 17 tenants. “We cannot just leave and go. The rent and space is manageable for a family of 10 members,” said Chaurasia.

Laxminiwas Building,Goregaon (East)

Sales representative Ranjeet Salunke,39,earns little but has a family of six to feed in his 350-sq ft flat in Laxminiwas building on Vishweshwar Nagar Road,Goregaon (East). “I know this place is dangerous to live in. But a small flat will cost us Rs 20,000 a month. We don’t have that much money,” he said,adding “My mother has been living here for the last 40 years. I spent my childhood in this house. Our rent is Rs 100 per month. Who would want to leave such a place?”

Chunks of bricks have come off the building during torrential rains. With 53 such structures,P South ward (Goregaon) has the second highest number of privately-owned dilapidated buildings. Of the 13 families residing here,seven have moved. “Once,plaster from the ceiling fell on the head of a resident. Water accumulates in front of our flat,but we make do,” Salunke said. “Had the government offered an alternative,the family would have moved. We’ll continue living here even if the building falls,” he added.

Goregaon Ambika,Goregaon (West)

Goregaon Ambika Corporative housing Society — declared extremely dilapidated by BMC — appears steady. The ground-plus-three structure was built in 1964 by MHADA but the ownership was later transferred to a private builder. Satish Agrawal,a resident of a 220 sq ft flat in the building,said,“10 years ago,the residents contributed Rs 15,000 each for the building’s repair. We had worked on the beams and pillars then. Now,for the next 25 years,this building will remain intact.”

Agrawal,a real estate agent,has his office on the ground floor and lives in the adjoining flat with his family. “In 2008,the developer asked us to vacate the building for redevelopment. Thirty-two of the 40 families vacated under pressure. We suspect the builder has been planning to force us out. How can we leave it without an agreement?” said Agrawal.

Another resident,Arun Subedar,said,“If the BMC sends us a notice,we will challenge it in the court. We don’t think our building is dilapidated.”

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