The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Friday issued eviction notices to 320 residents living in flats built by the civic body at Mandarwaja here, declaring the structures dangerous. The residents have been asked to vacate their flats within seven days.
The move comes following the recent building collapse at Odhav Sarkari Vasahat in Ahmedabad, which had left one dead and a few others injured. Following the incident, the state government had directed all the municipal corporations in the state to check and identify “risky” buildings in government tenements and get them vacated to avert any untoward incident.
Acting on the instructions, the SMC started a survey a few days ago. The survey was carried out in municipal tenements at Mandarwaja area on Ring road.
Sources said that the SMC had built A, B, and C tenements having a total of 1,312 flats back in 1980. In the survey, the officials found that 320 flats in A tenement are in poor state, and even the rusted iron rods are seen with no cement concrete, and cracks were seen at different locations. Survey in B and C tenements will start soon, SMC officials said.
The notice issued by the SMC stated that if any resident did not comply with the order, the civic body would start sealing the flats.
SMC officials said that they had issued several notices to the residents of A tenements in the past, asking them to vacate the flats as they were too “risky” to live in. The residents did not pay heed to the notices earlier, officials added.
Earlier, the SMC had come up with a redevelopment project under Public-Private-Partnership mode for redevelopment of the tenements. Since the last few days, the SMC had also begun to convince the residents to vacate the flats for that purpose.
Meanwhile, Congress councillor from Anjana ward Aslam Cyclewala, who resides in C tenement, met Surat Municipal Commissioner M Thennarasan and Mayor Dr Jagdish Patel on Saturday, demanding alternative accommodation for the residents who were issued the eviction notice. He was accompanied by several residents.
Cyclewala submitted a memorandum before the SMC officials, stating that the residents are poor and they do not have alternative accommodation. He requested SMC authorities that the residents should be given more time to vacate the flats and that no strict action should be taken against them temporarily.
“We have learnt that majority of the residents are willing for the redevelopment plan of SMC and for that SMC should make alternative arrangements for them as they are poor. With no alternate arrangements, the residents will not leave the flats,” the councillor told The Sunday Express.
SMC Deputy Commissioner Limbayat Zone N V Upadhyay said, “There is no such policy or legal provision to give alternate accommodation to the residents. We have told them to vacate the flats and have given them seven days. Even in past, we have given them notices to get the structures repaired but they did not acted on it.”