Long wait for new homes irks Kalbadevi residents

  • Tanushree Venkatraman, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 10, 2016 00:44 IST

“I don’t have any family photo. There has been no celebration in the family in the past one year,” said Priyanka Pol, resident of the infamous Gokul Niwas building, which collapsed a year ago killing four senior fire officials.

A year later, the two families that resided in the 60-year-old structure are still living in a transit camp in Prabhadevi, where they were shifted after the incident.

Pol had tied the knot a few days after the incident amid much media glare. “All our documents are stuck with the authorities. I have not been able to get my marriage certificate. We don’t have a permanent roof on our heads. We have not received any compensation too. There were talks of redevelopment, but nothing has happened yet,” Pol said.

The residents had applied to the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) to rebuild the structure that collapsed after a massive blaze on May 9, 2015. The families lived on the fourth floor of the ground plus four structure.

Shantaram Mandavkar, another resident, said he has incurred losses worth Rs15 lakh. “Last week, I got a call from the state government to collect a cheque amounting worth Rs20,000. Do they think we are beggars,” Mandavkar asked.

Mandavkar, his wife, brother and four children were at their native place in Ratnagiri when the incident took place.

Raj Purohit, BJP MLA from the area, who had assured them the building would be reconstructed at the same spot, said, “The project is stuck with the BMC, which is not giving the permissions.”

SR Singh, assistant commissioner of C ward, which includes Kalbadevi, said, “I cannot comment on it, as redevelopment is a policy matter that has to be taken at a higher level.”

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