The 60 families living in Raj Vaibhav colony in Borivli (West) woke up to a rude shock early on Wednesday — they discovered that their four-storey building was on the brink of collapse.
At 6.30am, residents of all three blocks of the colony were evacuated after security guards noticed dangerous cracks on walls on the ground floor of the A-block; the other two attached buildings are also in a dangerous condition.
The police cordoned off the colony, located in Yogi Nagar, even as residents stood on the pavement outside wondering what to do next.
“We have asked the society and the developers to assign a structural engineer and audit the structure before residents are allowed in to collect their belongings. The building could tilt and collapse in a few days so it needs to be demolished immediately,” said Vijayanand Bole, assistant municipal commissioner, R-central ward, who clarified that the structure was not on the BMC’s list of dilapidated buildings.
Artificial pillars will be erected so that the building remains stable while residents move out.
The 33-year-old building was to have been redeveloped four years ago, but disputes and legal issues between the builder and society members stalled the redevelopment plan.
Later, a new deal was signed with another builder, who is expected to begin work from this November. “Had the redevelopment project taken off earlier, this would not have happened,” said Bhavesh Khimani, a resident.
“The ground floor residents had complained that the walls inside their flats were cracking, but we didn’t know that the pillars had become so weak,” said Vilasini Pagare, another resident. “We have to find alternative accommodations in a hurry now.”
The developer appointed to do the redevelopment has offered to accommodate a few families on a temporary basis.