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Ghatkopar building collapse: Victims wait, but government gears up to give flats to MLAs

The government wants to rent 175 flats measuring about 450-550 sqft at Cuffe Parade, Colaba, Nariman Point, Walkeshwar, Wadala or Dadar

mumbai Updated: Aug 02, 2017 09:11 IST
HT Correspondent
This, while the promise made by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to provide housing to the victims of the Ghatkopar building collapse remains unfulfilled a week after the incident in which 17 people were killed.
This, while the promise made by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to provide housing to the victims of the Ghatkopar building collapse remains unfulfilled a week after the incident in which 17 people were killed. (File)

 Just hours after the ceiling slab in a room occupied by an MLA at Manora hostel in Nariman Point collapsed on Monday, the state legislature swung into action. It issued advertisements seeking furnished two-bedroom flats in South Mumbai on a rental basis for 158 legislators living in the hostel. This, while the promise made by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to provide housing to the victims of the Ghatkopar building collapse remains unfulfilled a week after the incident in which 17 people were killed.

The state legislature had issued an advertisement calling for a response from developers, builders and societies interested in renting the flats for two to three years. The government wants to rent 175 flats measuring about 450-550 sqft at Cuffe Parade, Colaba, Nariman Point, Walkeshwar, Wadala or Dadar. The legislature has also decided to pull down the multi-storey hostel, which has four towers, to make way for 850 flats for legislators.

Questions are being raised over the deteriorated condition of Manora hostel, just 22 years after it was built.The hostel, which was inaugurated in two phases in 1994 and 1995, has 330 flats measuring 280 to 320 sqft. According to sources, the Maharashtra Lokayukta has ordered an inquiry into the construction.

Read: Ghatkopar building collapse: CM promises temporary homes in 2 days, redevelopment in 10 days

Sources from the public works department (PWD) said structural changes and alterations by the legislators inside the rooms have led to a state of disrepair of the building. Its condition is so bad that legislators are not allowed to park their cars inside the premises so that they are not damaged from falling debris.

The legislator administration is however apprehensive if any society or builder come forward to let the flats to the politicians. “In the wake of various aspects including the number of persons visiting the houses of the legislators and the protocols they expect, the response seems to be difficult. Secondly, the availability of such a large number of flats at the price we expect is not easy. In absence of non -availability of flats, we may think of giving a certain amount ranging between Rs50,000 and Rs1 lakh, by asking legislators to make arrangements on their own,” an official from the state legislator said.

In a recent meeting, held at the Vidhan Bhavan last week, the government had offered to shift the legislators from the dilapidated Manora to a government building which has about 250 flats vacant, but the proposal was turned down as the building was in Chembur. The legislators expressed their inability to move in the flats saying it would be difficult for them to attend the sessions from such a long distance.

Read: Mumbai building collapse: Residents homeless despite chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ promises