Minister of State for Housing Sachin Ahir told Hindustan Times that the government hopes to convince residents of dilapidated buildings to move out by building good transit accommodation.
What was the aim of your recent visit to dilapidated buildings?
Mumbai Guardian Minister Jayant Patil and I went to convince residents to shift to transit accommodation as it is dangerous to live in their buildings. It can result in loss of both life and property.
But residents don’t trust the state given that people languish in transit camps for decades.
I agree, but we assured them that things have changed. We are ready to assure them that there will be no injustice. We have built excellent transit accommodation at places like Dharavi and also on mill land.
What happens if residents refuse?
We will convince them, hold meetings with them. We are ready to even hold coordination meetings with landlords and tenants. The tenants must realise that, more than the landlord, it’s they who are in danger. If they still refuse, we will forcibly evict them. But that would be the last option.
Residents say you wake up just before the monsoon and tell them to shift. Schools have started and this causes a lot of inconvenience. This is a year-round exercise, not just during the monsoon. It is just that there is more danger of collapse during this season. We will take care that their children’s education is not disrupted and that they get admitted to another school.
Is there is no scientific method to test whether the building is dilapidated? There were some suggestions given by IIT some years back, but we have not implemented them. We will surely take a more scientific approach in the future.