19 years on, residents of collapsed Mumbai building await homes, compensation
Last week, the Bombay High Court pulled up Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for “constant delays” in filing replies in cases related to dilapidated buildings.mumbai Updated: Sep 12, 2017 10:16 IST
The recent building collapses at Ghatkopar and Bhendi Bazaar took Anil Ghatalia, a former resident of Govinda Towers, back to August 1998, when a seven-storeyed structure in Bandra (East) collapsed, killing 33 people and injuring 23.
Since then, Ghatalia has been living in a rented apartment. The 53-year-old and his four brothers, who owned two flats and one shop in the building, today pay a monthly rent of 25,000 for one apartment, and are living in four different places.
Like him, for the past 19 years, residents have been running from pillar to post to ensure they have a shelter over their head, but in vain. “We were promised a compensation of Rs2 lakh by then CM Manohar Joshi, but till today we have neither received that amount, nor our houses have been built,” said Ghatalia.
Last week, the Bombay High Court pulled up Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for “constant delays” in filing replies in cases related to dilapidated buildings.
The former residents said Govinda building collapsed due to three reasons – the base of the structure was not strengthened and the builder used poor quality of concrete in laying the foundation, Chetana Cooperative bank on the ground floor had meddled with the pillars and the overhead tank of King Inn’s hotel was adding to the burden of the structure.
Srivastava Committee who submitted a report to the Bombay High Court in 2001, ratified the poor quality of products used in the buildings and added that the hotel on the top three floors added to the load because they had made changes to the building plan. The committee also held 15 person responsible for the lapse, including 11 Municipal officers.
Letters written by a social worker MA Naik in the year 1984 and 1985 to the civic body indicate that he flagged the issue of norms being violated by the builder by using FSI in an unauthorised way to make the four-storied structure into a seven-storied one, but no action was taken then.
“All we have been trying to say all these years is that had our case been taken seriously, the same scene wouldn’t have repeated again in Ghatkopar and Bhendi Bazaar,” Ghatalia added.