In the wake of the Babu Genu municipal market building collapse in Dockyard Road,occupants of several buildings that are located alongside the railway track in Masjid and Sandhurst Road areas have now voiced fears that the structures are in urgent need of repair. Some of these buildings are over 100 years old.
On Keshavji Naik Road in Masjid,employees working at a three-storey office complex fear that the 15-year-old building might collapse. A tenant who runs his business at the complex said,The building,with 24 small offices,has double the number of rooms than is allowed. We are in talks with the owner of the building to arrange for repairs.
The building,less than a few feet away from the railway track,is subject to tremors when trains from the Harbour Line pass by. The office complex is one of the many buildings along the railway track that is in need of immediate attention. Many of these buildings have unauthorised cantilevered construction on the top floor,and illegal extensions and alterations on the ground floor.
An oil trader,Shabeer Ahmed,runs his business in the Saraswati Sadan building which is located next to a commuter bridge above the tracks at Masjid. Ahmed said,The building is more than 100 years old. Although we do not fear a collapse,the structure definitely needs repair. The multi-storey building stands next to a row of shanties that overlook the tracks.
A resident of one of the shanties along the railway tracks,Altaf Ahmed,said,Our house has only one floor. It shakes when trains pass but we have grown accustomed to it. Since we cannot afford repairs,we have not attended to the ruptured walls.
A 10-foot stone wall,built as a support for a row of sloping structures,stands a foot away from the railway track on platform No.1 at Sandhurst road station. The support wall has been developing cracks for many years,say commuters. A commuter,Sudarshan Ramani,said,I have been commuting on the Harbour Line trains for the last five years. I have been seeing the cracks on the wall ever since I can remember.
The collapse of the wall could result in a landslide on the tracks, said Sulaiman Bhimani,an activist,who has written to BMC chief Sitaram Kunte and other authorities about alleged illegalities in these buildings.