Mumbai building collapse: BJP MLA accuses underworld, gangsters of playing role in increasing illegal structures
Photo by BL SONI

Dongri enclave in south Mumbai, where the four-storey building which collapsed on Tuesday killing 14 persons once stood, is the hotbed of illegal constructions and forms part of the municipal ward that has the highest population density. But now reports have surfaced saying that a BJP MLA has accused the underworld and gangsters of playing a role in the rampant rise of illegal structures.

According to Indian Express, BJP legislator Madhu Chavan, who is also chairman of the Mumbai board of the development authority, while commenting on Dongri building collapse said that underworld and gangsters had played a role in rampant illegal structures coming up in cessed buildings of the MHADA. Chavan told the leading daily, “It is the responsibility of the BMC, which failed to act against the illegal construction that collapsed on Tuesday. In the area where the building has collapsed, the underworld has a role to play because of which ground plus two cessed buildings illegally became eight-floor apartments. Even though the MHADA had sent notices to them, no action was taken.”

The MHADA’s Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board looks after all the cessed buildings in the city. There are 14,207 cessed buildings in South Mumbai, constructed before 1940. Of these, 8,000 buildings need urgent repairs while 3,000 are in poor condition. Uday Samant, president, MHADA told the leading daily, “We can’t bring back those who died in the accident, but the MHADA will take care that this doesn’t happen in the future. Almost all the tenants of the most dangerous buildings have vacated them. However, I have asked officials to go out and survey each of the 23 buildings where eviction notices were served and see that the buildings aren’t occupied again.”

According to an official statement, the chief minister asked the housing department to draw up a separate act to push cluster-based development of dilapidated buildings recognised as MHADA cessed structures in the metropolis. Residents of buildings categorised as "cessed" are required to pay a levy to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) for their upkeep. Buildings constructed mostly before 1969 which pay cess to the state-run housing agency fall under this category. He also asked officials to initiate legal action against builders involved in illegal construction.

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