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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

‘Living in Mumbai’s dilapidated, dangerous bldgs better than moving to MHADA transit camps’

Mumbai city news: Residents say people who evacuated their buildings 20 years ago are still languishing in transit camps

mumbai Updated: May 29, 2017 11:57 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
(HT File Photo)

Residents of nine extremely dangerous buildings in Mumbai have refused to vacate the premises despite the warning issued by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).

Residents fear that once they leave, they will not be able to return and will be made to languish in MHADA’s transit camps for the rest of their lives.

Residents of a building in Kazi Street, which features in the list of dilapidated buildings, said MHADA did not guarantee them that they could return. “How can we just leave our premises without any agreement in place?” he asked. “We all work at local offices and our children go to nearby schools. Everything will be disrupted if we move,” said the residents, who did not wish to be identified. They added that conditions in transit camps are extremely unhygienic.

Nine buildings were chosen as part of the MHADA’s annual pre-monsoon survey of dangerous buildings. These buildings have outlived their utility and are being supported by iron rods, which prop them up. While MHADA has made provisions for tenants to shift to transit camps, they are reluctant to move and prefer staying in dangerous structures.

Swapnil Katarnavre, secretary, Youth Voice, said the MHADA’s track record was to blame for residents’ resistance. “People who evacuated their buildings 20 years ago are still languishing in the transit camps, with no sign of them returning. Why will people vacate their houses when the situation is such?” said Katarnavre.

Since 1970s, many residents living in old, dilapidated buildings moved to MHADA transit camps hoping to return after their premises were redeveloped. However, the redevelopment was stalled owing to buildings being demolished to make way for widening projects or the site being reserved as a playground or recreation ground or litigation. The result — these tenants continued to stay in the transit camps, which became their permanent dwellings.

State minister for housing Ravindra Waikar acknowledged the problem and said the state was trying to solve this issue. “We are working out a scheme in which the residents will be assured of a home in the same place,” said Waikar.

First Published: May 29, 2017 11:02 IST