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Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar tenants fear for their lives, want Mhada to repair old buildings

As many as 256 old buildings are up for redevelopment in Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazar

mumbai Updated: Sep 01, 2017 23:54 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
Bhendi Bazaar,Mhada,Mumbai building collapse
Rescue operations unfolding at the site.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT)

Bhendi Bazaar residents said the collapse of the 117-year-old Hussaini building has caused them to fear for their own lives. On Friday, they took to the streets, demanding that the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) survey dilapidated buildings in the area and repair them.

As many as 256 old buildings are up for redevelopment in Bhendi Bazar. As many as 4,221 families live in these structures, which are all more than 80 years old.

The 125-year-old-plus congested locality in the island city is crumbling under poor infrastructure even as the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (Mhada) has given the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) the go-ahead to redevelop 227 buildings, officials confirmed.

“Between the developers and the authorities, we are helpless. There are no solutions, just endless meetings. This collapse has frightened us,” said Fatima Karwinkar, a resident of Mariam building, which Mhada inspected on Friday.

Amin Patel, Congress MLA from the area, said the problem was two-fold. “Every building in this area either needs to be repaired or redeveloped. But, Mhada has neither the money nor the manpower to undertake this task. Even if Mhada sends tenants notices, they refuse to vacate the buildings,” he said.

Husain Chhassa, who lives in Rasool Manzil building on the same street said residents want better homes, but at the same time, don’t want authorities to send them eviction notices. “Where will we relocate?” he asked.

Mhada has asked tenants to shift to transit camps provided by the SBUT.

Sumant Bhange, chief officer, Mhada (repair board), said the SBUT must take care of the remaining buildings and their tenants.

“SBUT needs to conduct structural audits regularly and ensure transit facilities for residents,” he said. He added that Mhada has sent notices to people living in dilapidated structures, asking them to move out.

First Published: Sep 01, 2017 23:53 IST