The state government has issued an ultimatum to residents of old dilapidated buildings to vacate their premises or face eviction. The residents have 10 days to move out.
“It is question of their lives and we will not allow them to put their lives in danger. They need to shift to the transit accommodation within 10 days,” said Sachin Ahir, state minister for housing. Ahir and Prasad Lad, chairman of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), repairs board, visited these dangerous structures in south Bombay to persuade residents to shift. Currently, 88 families reside in such structures.
However, residents expressed reluctance to shift to transit camps. “If we shift to transit camps, we will languish there all our lives,” said Mohammad Sharif, resident of Kanchwala building at Duncan road.
Some locals fear that the size of their shops will reduce drastically in the new structures. “We will lose our entire business as there is no concrete plan to rehabilitate us,” said a shopkeeper from Govardhan Nivas at CP Tank.
The residents’ fears are not unfounded. There have been instances of evacuees continuing to live in the transit accommodation as redevelopment of their buildings faced hurdles. In some cases, either their building fell prey to road-widening projects or was reserved as a playground or was stuck in litigation.
In the case of buildings in Khetwadi’s Bhandarwada, residents have now asked Mhada to repair them as redevelopment is not possible. “We don’t mind staying in small houses instead of shifting to some unknown places. We are even ready to shift to transit camps for some time till the repair work is done,” said Parag Vashirde, the landlord.
This year, as part of its pre-monsoon survey, Mhada has classified 16 buildings as being in a highly dilapidated state. Surprisingly, nine of these 16 notified buildings are the same buildings that were notified last year.