Maharashtra’s crumbling urban infrastructure | HT Editorial
Let the Bhiwandi building collapse be a grave reminder to states to prioritise proper urban planningUpdated: Sep 21, 2020, 21:17 IST
In less than a month, another urban disaster has hit Maharashtra, with the collapse of a 30-year-old building in Bhiwandi, Thane, with at least 10 casualties. The building collapsed on Monday at 3:04 am. This comes after the Mahad building collapse which killed 16 people. The period between 2015 and 2019 saw 1,472 incidents of building collapses in Mumbai alone, with 106 people having lost their lives. This number is alarming.
Maharashtra has been infamous for its urban infrastructure which is the result of a domino effect. With rapid urbanisation, buildings are often haphazardly constructed, flouting regulatory norms. The absence of planning often forces citizens to move into unregulated, unsafe buildings, and face the consequences of crumbling infrastructure. Older buildings are often forgotten in the bid to build more. While not unique to Maharashtra alone, the state has seen the unfortunate consequences of poor planning and governance as a product of rapid urbanisation.
The Mahad tragedy should have served as a wake-up call for the Bhiwandi-Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNCMC), which began to identify extremely dangerous buildings. Now, as a second tragedy unfolds, the only way forward is through proactive decision-making, inspections and administrative will. Changing weather patterns, heavy rainfall and the climate crisis must be regarded as key areas in the approach to building safer cities. Let this be a grave reminder to states to prioritise proper urban planning. Lives are at stake.