Mumbai building collapse: 25,000 old buildings are dilapidated, so why do lakhs refuse to move? | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai building collapse: 25,000 old buildings are dilapidated, so why do lakhs refuse to move?

There are currently 14,375 dilapidated structures in Mumbai’s island city and the 10,500 in the suburbs

mumbai Updated: Sep 01, 2017 11:43 IST
Naresh Kamath
Fire brigade officials pull out an unidentified body from the rubble.
Fire brigade officials pull out an unidentified body from the rubble.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT)

Thursday’s Bhendi Bazaar building collapse has highlighted just how dilapidated 25,000 structures across Mumbai are.

Lakhs of tenants are currently living in dangerous conditions. Reasons: poor maintenance, time taken to obtain the consent of landlords and tenants, false promises by builders and red tape.

The Builders Association of India (BAI) has blamed the government for the plight of tenants, saying collapses have become an annual event.

“What is the point of getting redevelopment consent from tenants when the building is about to collapse anytime? The process takes years and serves no purpose,” said Anand Gupta, BAI member.

“It is time to give these building owners and ultimatum. If they do not appoint a builder within a specified deadline, the state can issue redevelopment tenders and initiate the process,” he added.

There are currently 14,375 dilapidated structures in the island city and the 10,500 in the suburbs.

All these structures were constructed before 1969 and are in bad shape.The rules and regulations to redevelop these structures are complex and the process takes years to complete.

There needs to be 100 % consensus among the landlords and 70 % among tenants with regard to appointing a builder. The state now plans to reduce consensus among tenants to 51 % as this might help speed up the process.

Builders are competitive. To bag revamp rights, they usually resort to unscrupulous methods such as driving a wedge among tenants, using strong-arm tactics and making unrealistic promises, said residents.

According to Congress Mumbaidevi legislator Amin Patel, builders are to be blamed for this impasse. “Tenants have no confidence in the builders as many have reneged on their promises and rendered them homeless,” said Patel.

“People prefer to risk living in rickety structures rather than opt for redevelopment,” he added.

While the state government has said that the tenants should shift to transit camps, they are reluctant to do so. Records indicate that those who moved to transit camps in the 1970s have been forced to make it their permanent dwellings.

This is because the redevelopment of their structures was stalled owing to several reasons — either the building fell prey to road-widening projects, was reserved as a playground or was stuck in litigation.