Dongri, hub of illegal buildings; Mumbai civic body can’t get past hurdles
According to BMC data, there is only one dilapidated building in B ward. The other dilapidated buildings do not show up on the list because they are illegalUpdated: Jul 17, 2019 01:08 IST
The B ward area, which is the administrative name for the areas of Dongri, Mohammad Ali Road, Masjid, Bhendi Bazaar and Pydhonie, is a mesh of old, dilapidated buildings where several illegal structures have mushroomed over the past few decades. The incident on Tuesday, where the four-storey Kesarbai building collapsed and killed 10 people and injured nine others in Dongri, is not the first building collapse reported in the area. In September 2017, the seven storey 117-year-old Husaini Building collapsed in Bhendi Bazaar and killed 33 people.
Yet, according to data from the BMC, there is only one dilapidated building in B ward. The reason other dilapidated buildings do not show up on the BMC’s list of such buildings in the ward is because they are illegal.
Rais Shaikh, leader of the Samajwadi party in BMC, who was a resident of the area for around 20 years, said, “Over the past few decades, the area has seen haphazard development and redevelopment of many old buildings. These buildings are built without the BMC’s permission under the name of carrying out structural repairs to the original building. It adds weight to the original old structure, and weakens it.”
Harshad Kale, deputy municipal commissioner of the area said, “This area has many old buildings. Some of them are even a century old. That is the most challenging part for BMC, as tenants refuse to vacate them, for fear of losing out on prime property. There are also many illegal buildings, which the BMC is constantly acting against, but there are many hurdles.”
Shaikh however, accused the administration of turning a blind eye to the illegal buildings. “It is the administration’s job to know if an illegal building is coming up in the area, and make sure to stop its construction,” he said.
A senior civic officer said every other building in the locality has an illegality or is dilapidated. “When we send notices, sometimes the matter becomes sub-judice and remains pending. Many times, the developer over a weekend manages to construct several floors to the building, and by the time BMC notices it, tenants have moved in, making demolition very difficult.”
Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray called on CM Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday and requested him to remove the obstacles in redevelopment of dilapidated and old buildings in Mumbai.