Damaged portion of Khar building razed; adjoining homes evacuated
A day after Bhole Apartments in Khar (West) partially collapsed, residents of a neighbouring building were also asked to vacate their homes on Wednesday, since the tilted portion of the damaged building posed a threat. Those living in Bhole Apartments had been evacuated on Tuesday. The damaged section of Bhole Apartments is in the process of being demolished.
On Wednesday, residents of Bhole Apartments could be seen waiting at the site, hoping to collect their valuables, while the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) started demolishing the damaged portion.
The demolition is likely to continue over the next two days. Nitin Gadekar, chairperson of the local non-governmental organisation H (West) Federation, said, “The BMC promised it would demolish the structure one floor at a time and allow people to collect their valuables. Residents have been standing since morning and people had come with suitcases and sacks to take away their belongings. It is heart-breaking that their hard-earned money is lying in dirt now.”
Civic officials said it was too risky to allow residents near the site as the remaining portion of Bhole Apartments has tilted. For this reason, about 18 families living in nearby Pooja Apartments were also asked vacate their homes as a precaution.
For residents, however, these measures are bewildering.
Businessman Kamlesh Khoopchandani, who lived on the first floor of Bhole Apartments, said, “We are all scattered right now and living at our friends’ or relatives’ place since they have obliged. We have no clothes to change and as of now we do not even know when the BMC will allow us to get inside our houses,” he said.
The BMC will now conduct a structural audit of the standing portion of Bhole Apartments within seven days and decide whether the entire building needs to be pulled down.
A civic engineer on site said, “We have learned that this building is a C2 A category structure, which means it needed major structural repairs. We had also sent a notice to the building somewhere in 2015 or 2016 to submit the structural audit report, which they did not. It seems that the contractor did not have any supervisor on site and the repair work caused damage to the column which may have led to collapse of the building. Also the repair work was not permitted by the BMC.”