Written by Sanjana Bhalerao
In a survey conducted by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) to study the condition of buildings in areas where Metro construction work is underway, the agency has found that nine buildings in Cuffe Parade and Hutatma Chowk area are in ‘severe’ to ‘very severe’ dilapidated state. The buildings include the famous Kitab Mahal at Hutatma Chowk or Flora fountain and Parsi Dharamshala in Cuffe Parade.
The MMRC is currently undertaking the tunnelling work for the underground 33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ corridor. As part of the pre-construction building condition survey, the MMRC studied the structures that fall within the potential zone of influence of the construction. In a letter to the civic body, the MMRC has shared the observations regarding dilapidated buildings.
“MMRC considers that in the best interest of the safety of the occupants of such buildings, it would help that the civic body serves notices to the building owners to take necessary actions immediately,” read the letter.
Survey results underline residents’ nightmares
The survey results once again underline the fears expressed by South Mumbai residents following drilling and tunnelling work undertaken for Metro 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ). Residents fear several old and dilapidated buildings, some over 100 years old, could be shaken to their foundations. Depending on the severity of the condition of the nine dilapidated buildings, these structures along the Metro 3 route will either have to be repaired or evacuated.
Following the survey and the letter, the civic body has served notices under Section 353B of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act to the buildings highlighted in the survey to get the structural audit done.
MMRC has faced opposition to its tunnelling work in areas that fall in the Metro 3 corridor route, with residents fearing it would destroy the old buildings. Residents also demanded that the alignment of the Metro corridor be changed. The administration would also have to rehabilitate 2,888 project—affected people. The MMRC has completed 15 km of tunnelling work in the city, as on Wednesday and is is expecting to complete 80 per cent of the tunneling work by December, 2019. The line would be commissioned in two phases, with the first phase partly operational by 2021. The phase one corridor would provide crucial north-south rail connectivity and is expected to supplement the overburdened suburban rail network. It will link key business districts MIDC, SEEPZ, BKC in suburbs to Nariman Point in the island city.