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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Locals refute TMC claim over bldg state

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 22, 2013
First Published: 13:03 IST(22/6/2013) | Last Updated: 13:13 IST(22/6/2013)

Buildings collapse, lives are lost, but apart from promises of probes, little is done to avoid such accidents.
While the civic body says that Smruti building that collapsed in Mumbra on Friday did not figure in the list of dilapidated structures, residents claim that they had received notices from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC).
 
In fact, residents said the building was repaired twice as it was structurally weak and they were planning to carry out work again.
A senior municipal official said he was not surprised that building had crumbled like a pack of cards. "A large number of buildings in Thane area—more than 50% — are not very sound structures. Most were built when there was no civic body and hence there were no proper rules governing the construction activity. In many buildings, the floors were added later,” the official said.

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Residents alleged that demolition of a dilapidated building next to Smruti had weakened the foundation of the 34-year-old structure.
"Four years ago, Merchant House was declared dangerous and the corporation vacated it. It was demolished two years ago. After that water started accumulating near our place and weakened the foundation," said Zakiya Iqbal, a resident.
 
Former residents of Merchant House said that they had no hope of returning. "Hundreds of tenants were asked to vacate, but we haven't been rehabilitated yet.  The TMC promised to give us other houses, but once the building was empty, they paid no attention to the residents," said Fardia Basu, who resided in Merchant House.

There are 61 extremely dilapidated structures and 1,049 dangerous structures in the city. More than 88,174 occupants and 21,793 families reside in these buildings. 

The state had asked the civic body to rehabilitate people in MMRDA homes before monsoon. The corporation, however, hasn't even yet formulated a rental policy.

Activists blamed the nexus between builders, officials and politicians for the incident. "This industry is flourishing at the cost of innocent lives and repeated complaints have fallen on deaf ears," said Imran Khan, a social activist.

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