Buildings on the Brink: Give us rent, we will move out, say Mulund building residents
BL Soni

The redevelopment of Adenwala Co-operative Housing Society in Mulund has been stalled for the last five years. BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had declared the building highly dangerous under the C1 category two years ago. However, tuition classes on the second floor are being conducted as usual. And senior citizens, claiming they have no other option, continue to reside there despite the risk to their lives.

If the developer helps them with rent, only then can they think of moving out.

Adenwala Co-operative Housing Society, a two storey old structure on PK Road in Mulund (West) was built in 1962. The building had 31 tenants and shops. The building was owned by Adenwala. In 2002, the tenants claimed that they became the owner by paying the amount for it.

Redevelopment at stalled:

The residents had signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a private builder, which was also registered in 2017. The tenants, at present, are staying in a 225 to 300 square foot carpet area. They have been assured an extra 40 per cent after redevelopment. All the residents were ready to sign the deal. The developer even assured that he would give rent of Rs 45 per square feet to the tenants. However, the redevelopment stalled when the commercial shop owners started demanding for more. “The developer is ready to compromise with some extra space. However, shop owners have stuck to their demands. Residents know the risk. And the shopkeepers, who just come for business, are risking their lives. They stay in Mulund and are safe," alleged a resident from the building on the condition of anonymity.

Residents claim the structural audit itself shows that the building comes under the C1 category. Pravin Bhai Parmar, 79, the chairman of the building, has been residing on the second floor for the last 40 years. Parmar shows the pillar near the staircase checked by the authorities. "We know the risk and want to vacant the building, but we are left with no option. If we leave this place, we don't have much cash to rent another flat. If the developer gives rent, we can move out today. The developer, in the MOU, had assured a seven storey building that will be completed within two years. Hope, we see the new development," said Parmar, sitting on a chair and showing a demolished old structure at the front.

"This building had only three tenants and owners. So it started at the earliest," he added. “We have no other option but to wait for redevelopment," added Parmar.

Ashwin Bhai Pawani 75, the secretary of the society, said the authorities should reach the root of the problem and find a solution. "Rather than putting up a notice to avoid any blame if any incident occurs, they should find a solution. No one wants to die," said Pawani.

Kishore Gandhi, assistant municipal commissioner, T ward, Mulund, which has almost 35 buildings in the C1 category, said, "As per the procedure, a structural audit of the building shows its category. If it is under the C1 category, the residents themselves should vacate and go for redevelopment. The authorities give them a notice to inform them about the danger and risk they are in. Around 20 per cent of the tenants who stay in are ready for redevelopment. But the tenants, who have left the place by giving it on rent or a commercial one, keep fighting for extra space and demands. Many times, it also goes to court. In such a situation, the tenants who can't afford a home in the city are taking risks. Many times, we try to intervene to bring up a solution."

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