Vellard View housing society, the residential building at Haji Ali that was damaged by a mudslide on Monday, may have to be demolished and rebuilt as suggested by a structural audit.
"Our structural engineer audited the building and submitted a report stating that only repairs would not make the building safe again. He suggested that we rebuild the B and C wing of the building," said Atul Parekh, chairman of Vellard View.
Even though the building’s A wing has been declared safe, it will be reconstructed. "Since the all three wings of the building are attached to each other, it is difficult to reconstruct only two wings," said Parekh.
On Monday, heavy showers triggered a mudslide and a portion of a 40 feet-high retaining wall, which was built on the edge of a hillock, came crashing down. One labourer died in the incident and three others were injured.
According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the removal of the debris caused by the mudslide may trigger more mudslides. The society’s residents are deliberating on the course of action. "The removal of debris, the reconstruction of the retaining wall and the redevelopment of the building will have to be undertaken simultaneously in order to be prepared for further mudslides. We will speak to society members and seek their opinions on the redevelopment before reaching a solution," said Parekh.
The cost of redevelopment is also a setback. "Although the building is located in a plush locality, all residents cannot afford to contribute for the redevelopment. We might seek help from the state government, since we are victims of a natural catastrophe," said Parekh.
Meanwhile, there is no clarity on who will be rebuilding the retaining wall that came crashing down.
Mumbai city collector Chandrashekhar Oak said, "Officials from the Mumbai Housing And Area Development Authority’s (Mhada) Slum Improvement Board visited the site and they will take appropriate action. The retaining walls are built by the board in the city."
The BMC, however, said the two buildings, Vallard View and Landmark Apartments, which is located on the same hillock, will have to sort out the issue between themselves as the area is a private property. "The two buildings should decide on the rebuilding the wall," said Parag Masurkar, ward officer, D ward.
In order to gain some clarity on the two issues, residents of Vellard View have written a letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
"We have asked the chief minister who should construct the retaining wall and who will be removing the debris," said Parekh.
Residents cut down on Ganeshotsav celebrations
Monday’s mudslide has upset Ganeshotav celebrations planned at Vellard View housing society.
Going against their normal practice of celebrating for a week, the celebrations will now last only for a day-and-a-half. Materials and other paraphernalia brought for the celebrations are buried under the debris of the mudslide.
The celebrations are organised each year by house helps who work for the building’s residents.
"We had purchased material worth Rs40,000 for the celebrations, which is now buried under the debris pile-up," said Ramesh Dey, a domestic worker.
"Initially had almost cancelled the idea of holding celebrations. Thankfully, the society permitted us to keep a Ganpati idol at the society for one-and-half day," said Ajay Jana, another worker. The idol will placed near the A wing of the building.