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Mumbai

Updated on: Sunday, August 08, 2021, 08:35 AM IST

Buildings on the Brink: Tenants of Kalika Niwas challenge BMC’s dangerous tag after civic body declares 107-yr-old Santacruz bldg dilapidated

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The 107-year-old Kalika Niwas building at Nehru Road in Santacruz (E) has been declared dangerous and falls under the BMC’s C1 list, which means extremely dangerous. However, tenants claim that the structure, which is close to the railway station and Western Express Highway, is repairable and doesn’t need to be demolished.

The tenants and landlord, who was a tenant till 2002, have been at loggerheads over this. However, the landlord has not been contactable for the last few years, claim residents.

The original wooden structure was just a ground-plus-one floor building. Then 60 years ago, a ground-plus-two floor structure was annexed.

Currently, the property houses 33 flats and a few shops. The tenants claim that they were first issued a BMC notice in 2014 when repairs were underway.

What tenants say:

“We had bought a flat in the building in 1999 from the original landlord. But after he passed away in 2002, the new landlord claimed that we took over the flats illegally. He now wants to throw us out. Neither is his name on the property card, nor has had any meeting with us,” said a tenant Ashok Patel.

When the landlord submitted a structural audit, it stated that the building was in a dangerous state, the tenants said. However, a personal structural audit conducted by them revealed that it was repairable.

“We collected funds and repaired the building. We have applied to the BMC to reconsider the C1 status as our building is strong and is not dilapidated,” said another tenant.

Meanwhile, the tenants have challenged the report given by the BMC’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) in the High Court. The matter is in progress.

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What officials say:

Local corporator and former mayor, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, said that Kalika Niwas building is very strong and if the landlord has bribed any officer, the tenants should not suffer or be rendered homeless.

“We have approached the landlord for a meeting, but in vain. If he is not coming, then he should at least consider the tenant’s situation and act accordingly. Had the building been in a dilapidated state, I wouldn’t have supported them when the bulldozers had arrived to demolish the structure in 2015,” said Mahadeshwar.

When this newspaper tried to contact H-east ward’s assistant municipal commissioner Alka Sasane, she was unavailable for a comment. Even the landlord was not reachable.

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Published on: Sunday, August 08, 2021, 12:57 AM IST
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