Despite risk,residents refuse to move out

The street adjoining Dagdi Chawl is lined with 11 civic-owned buildings that are listed by the BMC as ‘highly dilapidated and dangerous’ in the C1 category.

Written by ABDULLAH NURULLAH | Mumbai | Published: October 3, 2013 1:03:06 am

The street adjoining Dagdi Chawl is lined with 11 civic-owned buildings that are listed by the BMC as ‘highly dilapidated and dangerous’ in the C1 category.

Mohammad Ramzan,one of the residents,said,“These buildings were proposed for redevelopment seven years ago. Redevelopment will take place soon and we have been told that transit camps are being arranged in Ghatkopar,Chembur and Sion for residents.”

However,residents are hesitant to leave their homes despite the rickety structures. “Most of the 11 buildings are nearly 50 years old,but they have been repaired in April,” said a resident.

Sanjay Babu,another resident,said,“BMC officials undertook minor repair work just a few months ago. The building is strong now and there is no need for redevelopment.”

Some residents were of the view that redevelopment will displace them. “We do not want to be moved to transit camps. They will keep us there forever,” said Karan Shashane,a resident.

When told that they would be responsible for any damage or accidents in those buildings,the residents got repairs done through a private contractor. However,the BMC refuses to accept the legitimacy of the repair work done,as the civic body’s permission was not taken. “They (BMC officials) refuse to do their own job,and when we get the buildings repaired privately,they don’t accept it. That is not fair”,said resident Salman Khatoori.

A small grocery shop owner,Khatoori,his wife and three daughters live in a modest 290-sq ft room of a building slated for redevelopment. “My shop is located here. Two of my daughters go to school in this locality. Our family has been living here since the 1960s. How can we just get up and leave?” Khatoori said.

The civic body had in June forced eviction of almost 100 families from Dagdi Chawl but faced with stiff resistance. As of June 15,deliberations were on between the chawl’s representatives and BMC officials,with the civic corporation threatening to cut the area’s electricity and water supply if the residents didn’t comply.

Close to the Dockyard Road building collapse site,three civic owned buildings in Love Lane area are begging for repairs. Over 90 years old,the buildings were repaired almost 10 years ago,residents say. “Our building is in dire need of repair but the authorities pay no heed. We have written to them thrice. We live in constant fear of the building collapsing,” said a resident.

Only one of the three buildings was repaired and painted by the BMC this year,residents said. “Cracks have appeared on the walls in my house. The walls are always wet as the drain pipes,made of cement,leak continuously. The exteriors have turned dark green from drain water leakage,” said a resident,Ramesh Baby of Block 3. “The buildings in B I T Chawl,classified as C1,is slated for redevelopment. “We have made plans and arranged transit camps. We conducted repair work on the buildings last year,” said Sanjog Kabare,Assistant Municipal Commissioner of E ward.

abdullah.nurullah@expressindia.com

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