Buildings on the Brink: Residents of Borivali's Om Shree Geetanjali Nagar CHS in a fix after being listed as highly dangerous structure

Residents of Om Shree Geetanjali Nagar Cooperative Housing Society (CHS) in Borivali are in a fix after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) listed their society under the C-1 category (highly dangerous) buildings this year.

According to the residents, the housing society was constructed in 1978 and comprised of 13 wings back then. The entire society is spread over an area of 7,500 square meters and had 218 flats. In 2013, the society was bifurcated into two parts. The A wing along with B-1, B-2 and B-3 wings were merged into a single society, while the C wing was marked as a separate society. The former has been listed under the C1 category, while the latter has not.

During the time of bifurcation, a caretaker committee was formed by electing members of the A and B wing. Following this, the committee signed an agreement of redeveloping the building with a private builder. However, the residents opposed the redevelopment project claiming that the builder was tainted.

What residents say:

"The caretaker committee was provisional and wasn't empowered to take a decision on redevelopment," claimed one of the residents of the building. The resident also alleged that those outside the management committee had no idea that a contract for redevelopment had been signed.

"We know that the appointed builder is tainted and we have enough evidence to support our claim, which is why we didn't want to redevelop our building with this builder," said the resident.

In 2019, the BMC sent a letter to the building demanding a structural audit report. The residents said some members of the then provisional committee submitted an audit report without the consent of the residents, following which the BMC sent them a notice.

"The caretaker committee submitted a report on May-2019 that was flawed. Soon after this, we submitted another report in August 2019, which contradicted the first report, but the engineers said that our report was not complete," the resident alleged.

Meanwhile 18 out of the 38 members of the building filed a writ petition in the High Court, following which the HC stayed the BMC from demolishing the structure and since then, the case has been sub judice.

Meanwhile, civic officials maintained that they seek a structural audit from any owner if their property becomes more than 30 years old.

What officials say:

"In the first report, it stated that the building is unfit, and there were many loopholes in the second report because of which we cannot consider it," said a BMC official.

"We have listed the building in the category based on our findings of the report and as the case is sub judice we will have to wait for the court order before we take the next step," the official said.

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