A major portion of a roof top of a residential room in the Ganja Jamuna building in Padmanagar, Bhiwandi, collapsed on Tuesday night, killing a nine-year-old girl on June 26.(HT Photo)
A major portion of a roof top of a residential room in the Ganja Jamuna building in Padmanagar, Bhiwandi, collapsed on Tuesday night, killing a nine-year-old girl on June 26.(HT Photo)

Bhiwandi civic body to conduct structural audit of unsafe building

40 families evacuated from 27-year-old building; BNCMC will approach VJTI to conduct another structural audit
By Sajana Nambiar | Hindustan Times, Bhiwandi
UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2019 12:26 AM IST

The death of a nine-year-old girl in a ceiling collapse in Bhiwandi on Tuesday has highlighted lack of action against dangerous buildings.

Sakshi Yengandulla died in Padmanagar, Bhiwandi, after a part of the roof of her house in a two- storey building, collapsed on her. Her mother, Sneha, 35, and sister Pragati, 8, suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Two days after the ceiling collapse, Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNCMC) has decided to ask Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Mumbai, to conduct a structural audit of the building.

“We have asked VJTI to conduct an audit and give suggestions to residents and the builder on what repair has to be taken to the building or if there is a need to raze it. If the audit report says that the building needs to be razed, we will immediately demolish it,” said Manohar Hire, commissioner, BNCMC.

The builder of Ganga Jamuna, the building whose ceiling fell, had had a structural audit last year. He had carried out repair works after the audit report.

The building is 27 years old and 40 families live there.

On Thursday, all the residents living in Ganga Jamuna building were evacuated by the BNCMC. The building has been cordoned off.

Narsi Mullu, 42, who lives on the first floor of the building, said, “When the civic officials asked us to vacate the building, we were hesitant but finally shifted as we fear for our lives. I am staying at my sister’s house. Others too have moved to their relatives’ house.”

As per the civic body, 2,460 families — or 50,000 people — live in dangerous buildings in Bhiwandi, known as powerloom town.

The civic body officials said they had been issuing notices to residents since May, asking them to vacate the building.

“Every year, we sent them notices and ask them to move, but they refuse. We cannot forcefully remove them. The civic body is ready to give them a temporary accommodation but residents don’t want that,” said a BNCMC official, requesting anonymity.

As per the BNCMC records, 22 people have died in building collapse incidents.

In 2016, the city saw a series of four building collapses.

“The civic body has not taken any measures for the safety of those living in dilapidated buildings in the city. They only serve notices. They serve notices but on the other hand also allow residents to live in it. They do not initiate any demolition drive,” said Rahul Tripathi, 40, a resident of Navi Basti in Bhiwandi.

Bhiwandi is divided into two parts — the urban areas come under Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNCMC) and the rural parts with around 60 villages fall under Bhiwandi Surrounding Notified Area (BSNA), which are looked after by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

The recent incident has again raised question on the structural strength of buildings in Bhiwandi. Some buildings which look new are usually unsafe. A building which will was just eight years old had collapsed due to substandard materials used to build the structure.

“We serve residents notices throughout the year. Ganga Jamuna building, too, was given notices several times last year,” added the officer.

As per the civic body, more illegal structures have come up in the city in the past 10 years. Most buildings have been built using substandard materials and without permission from the civic body.

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