In a temporary respite to the residents of Gautam Niwas Co-Operative Housing Society in Andheri, the structural engineer appointed by the MMRDA has declared the building fit for occupation.
Twenty-six families of Gautam Niwas had been asked to vacate the building on February 24 after crackling sounds were heard in the building.
Gautam Niwas, located at 30 feet from the Metro Rail line (Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar) has developed cracks allegedly due to use of a vibrohammer by Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL — a venture between Reliance Infrastructure, MMRDA and French firm, Veolia), which is laying the foundation of the line’s elevated route.
MMOPL was awarded this contract by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for 35 years on a Built-Operate-Transfer basis.
On Tuesday, MMRDA’s counsel Kiran Bagalia, submitted the report prepared by the structural engineer. MMRDA had appointed the structural engineer to conduct a structural audit of the building to ascertain whether the cracks were due to metro rail work or were age related.
The preliminary report submitted by Structwel Designers & Consultants Private Limited based on visual inspection states: “We hereby certify that though the structure shows distress in some of the structural members, the same is fit for occupation.”
The report, signed by structural engineer Chetan Raikar, also states that the certificate would cease the minute any “addition and/or alteration, damage to the structural frame is caused by accident or hampering with the geometrical sections of structure.”
Bagalia told the high court that the engineer needed an additional two weeks to complete the detailed audit of the building.
A division bench of Justice FI Rebello and Justice JH Bhatia asked the residents to submit documentary evidence of the damage to MMRDA by Wednesday.