Mumbai: After 'Buland Darwaza' Collapses At Nagpada’s Mastan Dargah, Concerns Rises About Other Soaring Arches In City

Mumbai: After 'Buland Darwaza' Collapses At Nagpada’s Mastan Dargah, Concerns Rises About Other Soaring Arches In City

The collapse of the 'Buland Darwaza' of Mastan Shah Qadri Dargah, in Nagpada, during the May 13 storm, barely seven months after it was built with public funds, has drawn attention to the safety of similar commemorative gates across the city.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Thursday, June 13, 2024, 12:11 AM IST
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Mumbai: After 'Buland Darwaza' Collapses At Nagpada’s Mastan Dargah, Concerns Rises About Other Soaring Arches In City |

Mumbai: The collapse of the 'Buland Darwaza' of Mastan Shah Qadri Dargah, in Nagpada, during the May 13 storm, barely seven months after it was built with public funds, has drawn attention to the safety of similar commemorative gates across the city.

Residents have asked for an inquiry into the incident that could have endangered innocent lives. Though local residents have given testimonials that the gate had collapsed, Mumbai Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), which built the structure through its Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) funds, said that they were not initially involved or informed about the fate of the gate. They said they were told that the arch gate was removed by residents. MHADA said they will inspect other similar structures and ensure they meet safety standards.

The gate, built near the 269-year-old Mastan Shah Qadri dargah, in Mastan Talao, Nagpada, was inaugurated in October 2023. It was built with funds from local MLA Amin Patel who said he spoke to the contractors and MHADA after the incident. "It will be rebuilt. A lot of trees in the area fell during the storm. The storm was unusual for Mumbai," said Patel.

The gate, estimated to be between 20 and 25 feet high, collapsed in the evening when an unprecedented storm brought down a giant hoarding in Ghatkopar, killing 17 people. The collapse of Mastan Shah Dargah's gate did not cause any casualties, but residents have asked for an inquiry into the incident.

Jama Masjid Chairman Shuaib Khatib, resident of the area, raised concerns over the collapse of the Bulund Darwaza. "MLA Amin Patel allocated funds for this Gate, and within six months, it collapsed. By Allah's grace, no one was harmed," said Khatib. "Why has there been no investigation into the contractor's work? How long will the misuse of Mumbai taxpayers' money continue?"

Khatib said that tenders must have been issued for the project. "The gate must have been constructed with the approval of engineers and architects. Between Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakhs must have been spent on the gate. If this was so, why was there no inquiry or FIR (First Information Report) with the police?" asked Khatib. "The MLA inaugurated it. They are trying to hush up the incident."

Patel said that there are similar structures all over Mumbai. Most are made from alucobond (aluminium panels), steel, and concrete and can tower up to four floors. "Many mandals and Buddhist temples also have gates like this. We should take all precautions while installing such gates. The gate at Mastan Dargah was built properly. It fell systematically and no passersby were injured," Patel added.

Javed Juneja, a corporator from the area, said, "We did not anticipate the problem. The material used was light in weight, but 10 minutes of the storm and the wind direction brought the gate down. MHADA must have inquired into the incident."

MHADA said they sent a team to inspect similar structures in the area, to ensure their stability. "We understand there are similar gates in the area, and we share the community's concerns about potential safety hazards. To address this, we will collaborate with relevant authorities to inspect these structures and ensure they meet all safety standards. Preventative maintenance and safety checks will be prioritized to avoid any future risks. The Deputy Chief Engineer of the Slum Board of MHADA has been tasked with overseeing these inspections," said Minal Jagtap, Executive Engineer, City, Slum Board, MHADA.

However, contradicting claims by residents that the gate had fallen during the storm, MHADA said the structure was removed as a precaution due to concerns over its stability.

"The arch-like structure, which does not have any historical significance is not even called Buland Darwaza nor is it a replica of Buland Darwaza, was simply an architectural element designed to guide visitors from the market to the dargah. The locals observed that the 20-feet tall iron-steel structure as risky during the storm on May 13, 2024, in Mumbai. So they informed the contractor, who then consulted with the MLA. To prevent any potential mishap, the decision was made to remove the structure safely. MHADA was not initially involved or informed about the removal, which is why our response came after the fact," added Jagtap.

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