Buildings on the Brink: Built in 1961, residents of Kandivali's Sawant bldg breathe sigh of relief as structure may go for redevelopment
Photo Credit: BL Soni

While some residents in the city were upset after their building was categorized under BMC’s C 1 category, extremely dangerous to live, owners of Sawant building in Kandivli (W) reacted in just the opposite way.

Located at Mathura Das Road, the two-floor building was constructed in 1961. Since the 1970s, the building have been housing 12 tenants. According to Shekhar Sawant, one of the owners, each tenant pays Rs 350 to Rs 400 rent per flat and as per the Maharashtra rental act. So, owners cannot charge more.

The BMC had sent a letter to the owners for the first time in 2017, demanding a structural audit report. In the report, it was stated that the building is in a dilapidated state and needed immediate repairs.

“We appointed a contractor who quoted Rs 30 to Rs 35 lakh to carry out repairs. Each tenant had to pay between Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh. Even though we were ready to pay our share, the tenants refused to pay. Due to which, repairs could not take place,” Shekhar told FPJ.

“The tenants are not ready to pay anything more than their rent and water bill. We have to bear the cost of property tax and as there are tenants living there for four generations now, neither can we evict them, nor can we carry out repairs,” Shekhar said.

He also maintained that as the repair work was not carried out for years, the BMC approached the district court in Andheri, following which the owners had to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 as the building did not meet the safety norms.

“A one-time structural audit costs between Rs 16,000 to 17,000. This cost is also borne only by us,” Shekhar added.

Meanwhile, as the BMC found out that it has been more than four years since the first notice was sent, the electricity and water connection of the building was disconnected in May.

The owners said even though water and electricity supply was disconnected, tenants refrained from leaving the premises.

“The tenants have taken separate flats on rent nearby. They are not ready to evict the building and continue to live here. They come here regularly even though the building is in a bad state. In case any untoward incident takes place, who will be responsible for it?” the owner questioned.

Meanwhile, BMC officials have said that they will be taking over the building and will carry out repairs.

“The structure is already in a dangerous state and we have already cut electricity and water supply. The building is not fit for rehabilitation and it needs to be demolished before redeveloping,” said a BMC official.

“The building is located in a residential colony and there is also a school nearby, if there is an accident, then the children’s lives are at risk,” the official said.

Despite repeated attempts, the tenants refrained from making a comment on the issue.

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Free Press Journal