Policemen residing in the Vartaknagar quarters have received notices to vacate the buildings because they are in “poor condition”. But the policemen’s families claim that there are no problems with the buildings.
“There are around 600 families staying in these buildings for nearly 30 years. The buildings are not in a dilapidated state. They were repaired some three years back,” said Riyaz Sayyed (40), whose father was with the Thane Rural police.
The Thane police sent the notices to 10 buildings – Building numbers 14, 16, 51, 52, 53, 57, 58, 59, 60 and 61.
Officers above the rank of assistant sub-inspectors to senior police inspectors live in building numbers 14 and 16, while those below the rank of assistant sub-inspectors staying in the remaining buildings.
The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority had constructed these buildings around 37 years ago.
The families have been asked to send applications for alternative accommodations at any police quarters in Wagle Estate, Kopri, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi or Kalyan. They also have the option of taking up rental accommodation where the state will pay the rent.
But the families are upset.
“They have not given us a deadline by when we should vacate. We will not shift from here. We have been staying here for so long. If we shift, it will affect our children’s education,” said Asha Patil (52), whose son is with the Thane City Police.
Families alleged that the notices could be a ploy to get them evicted as builders are eyeing this prime property.
“The adjoining buildings are private ones and have already been sold to builders. The only remaining patch is our quarters. So, this is just a plan to evacuate us and grab the land. We had already sent an application for ownership to the police commissioner, home minister and others, but it has been stuck in limbo,” said Sumit More (22), whose father is currently in the police service.
The families said there are talks of a high-rise coming up in the area.
“We will be meeting the Thane police commissioner and the director general of police. We want a third-party inspection to check the stability of the building. And if a tower comes up here, then we want a flat each at subsidised rates,” said Sayyed.
“We have received three notices from the public works department saying that people cannot reside in these buildings. So, we had to send them the notices because we will be held responsible if the buildings collapse,” said Thane police commissioner SPS Yadav.
“However, we are not rushing the families to vacate. We are probing into the matter and are open to suggestions. I’ll be discussing the issue with my higher-ups,” Yadav added.