People living in non-cessed buildings — those built after 1969 — can heave a sigh of relief, as the state government will amend laws to ensure that legislators can use their funds to repair these structures.
Mhada collects cess from the buildings constructed prior to 1969 and this amount is used for repair work. This decision was taken after it was noticed that thousands of such structures in the city are being left to fend for themselves because neither Mhada nor the legislators are allowed to repair them.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Guardian Minister Jayant Patil said the state couldn’t ignore such structures. “It is a complicated situation because residents and landlords cannot undertake repairs due to financial constraints, while both Mhada and legislators are not allowed by law. We will start by allowing legislators to utilise their funds to repair them,” said Patil.
Patil was talking while inspecting the Him Chhaya Building at Lalbaug located besides the defunct Finlay Mills.
Him Chhaya, constructed in 1984, has been in a dilapidated state. “Last year, a part of the ceiling just crashed and we were lucky to escape the tragedy,” said Sitaram Parwali, a resident.
The 56 tenants of Him Chhaya pay a monthly rent of about Rs 250 and with the landlord expressing his inability to repair the damage, residents have been running for solace but with no result. BMC restricts the use of corporator funds to repair water and drainage pipelines in such structures.
“The residents are so poor they can’t undertake massive repairs and despite my readiness to contribute, I’m not allowed to. MLA funds to repair such buildings will provide relief to these residents,” said Bala Nandgaonkar, local legislator.