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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

After building, faith in BMC collapses

Vaishnavi Vasudevan , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 28, 2013
First Published: 12:32 IST(28/11/2013) | Last Updated: 12:35 IST(28/11/2013)

Sixty-one people died when the municipal staff quarters at Mazgaon collapsed on September 27 this year.

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Caught in the middle of the chaos and the mounting death-toll, the municipal corporation announced a slew of compensatory measures such as civic jobs, recovery of lost valuables, alternate accommodation to pacify bereaved survivors who had lost their family members. Two months after the collapse, most of the survivors are in a squalid transit camp, unemployed and uncertain of their future.

Several survivors, who are housed at the camp located in Ghatkopar, said that they have been asked to pay rent for alternate homes that they have been allotted in the nearby area.

“We were supposed to be given a flat in Byculla, but they asked us to pay around Rs10,000 every month as rent. It feels like the officials have no humanity for the affected people. They took away our homes and loved ones and now they are demanding money for a flat that was supposed to be given as compensation,” said a resident and a BMC employee.

Others said that medical compensation was offered only for one week. “We still continue to spend lakhs of rupees on operations and medicines, but when our application for compensation is submitted, the officials turn a blind eye,” said Sanjay Waghmade, one of the residents, whose relatives were injured in the accident.

Tushar Pawar, 24, who lost seven members in his family, is the only survivor.

He has been going to the BMC office every day to get a job.

“I had submitted the required documents but I have to follow up every day so that the file moves from one official to another,” said Pawar, who lost his job in a private company because of the frequent leaves he had to take in the last two months.

The survivors have not been able to find their valuables yet.

“Our cupboard locks were broken and all valuables were stolen. When we reached the spot to search for our belongings, nothing was left,” said Kishore Chawda, one of the residents.

However, civic officials said they have put up CCTV cameras to keep an eye on robbers. They said the survivors would be given employment soon.

“We have to follow a lengthy procedure to give a job in such cases. They will be appointed soon,” said a senior civic official, requesting anonymity.
the BMC gave an assurance that it would be undertaking a slew of protective measures to ensure that the incident doesn’t repeat itself
that it would form a safety committee to look into dilapidated buildings.

The committee was to be headed by a retired high court judge with experts from renowned engineering institutes and structural auditors as members


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