Mumbai: The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has asked the tenants of the Esplanade Mansion, Kala Ghoda, to vacate the premises by May 31. The Bombay High Court, in its order dated November 2018, had allowed them to continue occupying the building at their own risk. According to the chief of the Mumbai Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board (MBRRB), a MHADA undertaking, a notice has already been issued. “People have started vacating the place and we hope they finish doing so before monsoon.”

The MHADA had proposed to demolish the structure. However, a group of tenants moved the high court against the action. The trustees of the Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens’ Association, Oval Cooperage Residents’ Association (OCRA) and Oval Trust too are against its demolition, citing the heritage value of the structure. The British-era multi-storey has been recognised by the UNESCO as a Grade-II heritage structure. In July 2018, a part of the balconies on the second, third and fourth floor collapsed. Although none were injured in the incident, a taxi parked alongside the building was crushed. Thereafter, the road by the building had been barricaded by the authorities.

According to the MHADA, to avoid any untoward situation, it classified the building as ‘most dangerous’ in 2010 and had twice asked the tenants to vacate the place.Although the building is in an extremely dilapidated state, several advocates have their offices here, as well as the Army Restaurant, which was in the news recently after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation revoked its health licence.