The residents of Sanmukh Sadan, the five-storey illegal structure, which collapsed in Ulhasnagar on Thursday, had applied for regularisation in October 2008. But like most buildings here, its violations exceeded the limit fixed by the ordinance: it had a floor-space index of four.
The state government, in January 2006, brought out an ordinance to regularise 855 illegal structures in this Sindhi-dominated eastern suburb.
Once residents apply for regularisation, a committee surveys the structure, checks its stability and fire fighting preparedness and spells out the irregularities. A fee is fixed and after payment, the structure is declared regular.
Only 164 of the 855 structures have been regularised in four years. The process had come to a halt since August due to elections and Sanmukh Sadan’s structural survey was pending.
Municipal Commissioner of Ulhasnagar, Ashok Baageshwar, said the evaluation of Sanmukh Sadan was in progress. “But it does not seem as if it could have been regularised. Apart from not having any construction permissions, it was also standing on a sewerage line,” he said.
There are 600 buildings like Sanmukh Sadan that cannot be regularised under the ordinance because they lack in basic aspects like the building’s height, parking deficiency, extra margins and setbacks or involve a change of user or extra FSI.
While over 500 structures have an FSI of over 4, around 140 structures are standing on public land reserved for roads, nullahs or playgrounds.
“The corporation with the help of the collector has to bring down such structures by serving notices. We cannot regularise what is completely illegal,” said Principal Secretary, Urban Development, T.C. Benjamin.
Baageshwar feels there could be a way out.
“Apart from establishing a repairs and reconstruction board for such structures, we need to see if we can increase the cap on the FSI.”
Sanmukh Sadan, which housed 25 flats located in the market area of Nehru Chowk, was constructed in 1995. The proprietor of the building, on paper, is Sunil Rohara.
But residents informed Baageshwar that former mayor of Ulhasnagar and Congressman Hardas Makhija constructed it and it was named after his father, Sanmukhdas.