Elected representatives in the civic body have demanded that to avoid future incidents like Bombay House, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should apply the development control rules (DCR) to all pre-1967 buildings.
The first DCR, which governs the way buildings are planned and built in the city, was issued in 1966. Since then, it has been revised at periodical intervals. However, buildings that were built prior to 1967 are exempted from DCR restrictions. The city’s last DCR was issued in 1991. The civic body is now in the process of revising the DCR.
Vinod Shekhar, Congress corporator and deputy leader in the BMC wrote a letter to the municipal commissioner stressing the need to apply the DCR issued in 1991 to all buildings with retrospective effect so that the misuse of basements like the one at Bombay House is stopped.
The basement at Bombay House housed a small office, a cafeteria, a small substation for electricity supply, an auditorium, and a changing room. According to the DCR, a basement can only be used for parking or storage purposes.
“The building would have been in violation of the DCR had it been built post-1991,” said a civic official, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Shekhar also claimed such an incident was â death trap. “The incident should have been an eye-opener as three people lost their lives. If this is continued more people could lose their lives,” said Shekhar.
Shiv Sena also supported the idea of bringing south Mumbai’s old buildings under DCR. “For safety reasons, all old buildings prior to or post 1991, should be treated equally,” said Ravindra Waikar, Sena corporator turned legislator. He said he will raise the issue in the coming state assembly session. Mayor Shraddha Jadhav said the administration should inspect all basements of buildings situated in the island city.
“The civic administration can act on this suggestion only if the state government issues directives,” said an official from the building proposal department, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media. Rajeev Kuknur, chief engineer, building proposal and development plan department, did not comment on the issue.