A day after a building collapse in the Behrampada slum cluster in Bandra East killed six persons, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it had started demolishing adjoining illegal structures Friday evening.
Civic officials said the rescue operation was called off around 4.30 pm Friday. Of the five injured who were admitted to the Bhabha hospital, three have been discharged. Two others are still in hospital, but their condition is said to be stable.
Six boys and girls died and five others were injured when an illegal structure collapsed near the Bandra railway station on Thursday.
Behrampada, one of the city’s most congested slums, is spread over seven acres and houses residential as well as commercial units. From ground-plus-two-storey structures, the height of the buildings have risen to 40 feet in some areas over the past couple of years.
“After the rescue operation was over, we demolished one three-storied building which was in a dangerous condition. Some more such structures will be demolished tomorrow,” said Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner of H East ward. He said that slum structures above 14 feet would be razed.
Officials of the Western Railway, which owns the land on which the building stood, said they would soon carry out a joint demolition drive in the Behrampada area with the BMC. “We had earlier written to the civic body asking it to carry out a survey and fix the day for demolition. Soon, we will conduct a joint demolition drive with the BMC,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer.
Senior officials of BMC said that all the ward officials have been instructed to intensify the demolition of slum structures above 14 feet, considering the safety of the people residing in these structures.
Meanwhile, political parties, including the Shiv Sena and the Congress, which had earlier opposed the demolition of slums structures higher then 14 feet, are now taking a cautious view on it. “We are not opposing the demolition. We are saying that structures that violate the height limit by just 2-3 feet should be spared, as families have made these buildings there home,” said Trushna Vishwarao, senior Sena corporator and leader of the House in the BMC.
Pravin Chheda, opposition leader in the BMC, said that structures up to 19 feet should not be demolished. “BMC can demolish buildings higher than that. Our proposal about 19 feet is still pending with the civic administration,” said Chheda, a Congress corporator.