Mumbai: Re-audit of 23 most dangerous buildings

Mumbai: After the collapse of a residential building in Dongri on Tuesday in which 13 lives were lost, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has suggested cluster development is the way forward for dilapidated buildings. 

At a meeting with officials from the housing department on Wednesday, Fadnavis gave in-principle approval to cluster redevelopment of such buildings.

"Buildings which are in an extremely bad shape will be redeveloped in a single cluster. Tenants of these buildings will be shifted to transit homes or will be given rents for two years. All obstacles in the path of cluster redevelopment will be removed," assured the CM.

Uday Samant, chairman of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), welcomed the CM's decision and said it would help them provide better homes for tenants of these dangerous buildings.

"The CM has given in-principle approval and soon a policy decision will be introduced once it is approved in the upcoming cabinet meeting. As per our plans, 'most dangerous' buildings will be redeveloped on priority," he said. 

Samant announced that he has directed the officials to re-audit 23 buildings that have been declared most dangerous. Every year, before the monsoon, the MHADA lists the most dangerous buildings and sends eviction notices to their residents.

This year, the list was almost thrice as long. Last year, there were only seven buildings listed."The aim of asking the officials to re-inspect and re-audit these buildings is to ascertain that such buildings are not occupied," he explained. 

In Mumbai, there are more than 14,207 cessed buildings in South Mumbai, belonging to MHADA. Of these 8,000 need immediate repairs, while 3,000 are beyond repair. 

BMC alone responsible?

MHADA Mumbai Board chairman Madhu Chavan held Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation responsible for any illegal construction in the city. He pointed out that the MHADA has authority to take action against illegal structures.

Moreover, cessed buildings are not MHADA- owned but it is landlords who are the owners. The MHADA repair board collects a small amount of money in the form of repair funds to enable repairs, as needed.

He claimed that from 1976-1990, several illegal buildings were built because of the support of the underworld. The late BJP legislator Prem Kumar Sharma was killed for raising concern over illegal structures, said Chavan.

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