Mumbai: No rent and bad transit houses compel residents to stay back in C1 buildings

Lack of rent provision, shoddy condition of transit houses compel residents continue to live in dangerous structures instead of moving out, a common grievance of tenants residing in C1 (extremely dangerous) declared buildings. Interestingly, Cessed building residents (Pagdi owners)at least are offered transit houses, while residents living in non-cessed buildings though Pagdi owner, have to manage the alternate accommodation by their own due to no law. Following which the non- cessed tenants who are mainly salaried people /average income earners continue to reside in these structures due to exorbitant rentals, have claimed Dharmendra Vyas treasurer of the Pagdi Bhadut Sanghatna an association of residents living in C1 categorised buildings.

He explained, "If a cessed building is declared C1 there is a provision of redevelopment. As per the recently amended Act of MHADA the landlord has to submit the redevelopment proposal within 6 months after C1 declaration. If he fails tenants are supposed to carry out redevelopment and if they too fail MHADA gets involved. However, similar provisions are not in BMC Act for redevelopment of C1 categorized building (non-cessed). Though agony of cessed and non-cessed buildings is same." The condition of transit houses offered is also same as these C1 declared buildings. Instead of staying in those transit camps mostly available at Mahul Village, people prefer to stay at their original place, he asserted.

In Mumbai 24 people died in different building/house collapse incident that reported in Chembur Vikroli on Sunday due to incessant rainfall the city witnessed. Following the tragic incident the issue of C1 declared structures and delay in shifting of tenants has once again became a cause of concern.

Vinod Ghosalkar Chairman of Mumbai building Repairs and Reconstruction Board (MBRRB) however pointed out that the redevelopment of these structures (cessed buildings) in Mumbai will expedite only if the centre approves the amended law on a priority basis. "The board failed to get involved in the stalled redevelopment projects as these lands are of private owners. If the board acquires and carry out redevelopment by own the landlord move court. However the amended law passed by the Maharashtra government and awaiting for final approval from the President's office of India has eliminated this hurdle. The cessed buildings redevelopment will speed up."

On no rent provision and poor condition of transit houses, Ghosalkar replied, "I agree the transit houses are in bad condition and we have plan to redevelop these transit camps. As a temporary solution to ensure speedy shifting of these remaining tenants staying in cessed buildings (C1) we have found 95 houses in South Mumbai itself. Besides, the unsold lottery houses which are less than 300 sq.ft area will also be used for transit accommodation. Providing rents is not feasible option."

The Mumbai building Repairs and Reconstruction Board (MBRRB) under MHADA declared 21 cessed buildings as high risk (C1) structures. So far 193 residents have shifted to alternate accommodation on their own and 20 residents have been shifted by authorities to a transit camp. MHADA has served the notice to vacate the buildings to total 460 residents. Ghosalkar asserted that shifting of remaining tenants will be done at war footing level.

The BMC and MHADA annually carry out survey of all old structures and categorise them as C1. Apart from MHADA, the BMC had listed 485 buildings under its jurisdiction as dangerous and at high risk. Of which 52 are such buildings which BMC owns.

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