The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has declared 11 buildings in the island city ‘extremely dangerous’ and asked their 689 tenants to shift to transit camps urgently. Of the 689, 379 are residential tenants while 310 are commercial. All 11 buildings have outlived their utility and are beyond repair, according to MHADA.
Housing minister Prakash Mehta, who released the list, said, “We will first ask them to shift. If they remain adamant, we will have no choice but to force them out. We cannot allow them to risk their lives.”
Four of the 11 structures on this year’s list – Esplanade Mansion at Fort, 44-46 Kazi Street, 39 Chowpatty sea face, and 55-57 Nagdevi Cross Road were on last year’s list too.
This list is drawn up from MHADA’s annual pre-monsoon survey. While MHADA has made provisions for tenants to shift to transit camps, most are reluctant to do so as they fear they will never be able to return.
Their fears are not unfounded. Over the years, such ‘transit camps’ have become more-or-less permanent homes for many people whose original homes were supposed to be developed but never were. According to Ashraf Khan, president of Youth Voice, there is no guarantee that tenants will be able to return to their homes. “Transit camps are far away and in poor condition. Shifting to them disturbs the lives of residents, who have problems finding schools and jobs. We have seen people languishing in transit camps for decades without hope,” said Khan.
There are currently 14,858 dilapidated structures in the island city, according to MHADA. All of them were built before 1969 and the majority of them are crumbling. Since many are cessed structures, their repairs are undertaken by the MHADA repair board.