It’s a new beginning for the families who survived the Babu Genu market building collapse at Dockyard Road on September 27. They are now carrying on with their lives in their newly allotted homes in Ghatkopar. The homes are unfurnished, apart froma few kitchen vessels. Idols of deities are placed in a corner ofthe house. The families are trying to make ends meet with the amount they have received as compensation for those they lost in the collapse. Homelessness and uncertainty of government procedures regardingtheir accommodation has only added to their problems.
Worried about their daughter’s schooling
Mahadev Kamble and his wife Kavita took possession of the house just a month before it collapsed. After having lost everything, they are worried about thaeir four-year-old daughter Bhagyashree’s future. They fear that not having a permanent residence will make it difficult to secure admission in a school for their daughter. Mahadev said, “How can the BMC allot homes in a building that they themselves have declared dilapidated? Then, they come up with all these varied compensation amounts.”
‘Nightmares keep our daughter up at night’
The Waghmare family lived on the second floor of the building. When it collapsed, three members of the family, Sanjay, his wife Rajyashree and daughter Harshada were trapped in the debris, and it took nearly ten hours for the disaster management team to rescue them. Remembering the incident Rajyashree said, “We were asleep in morning and the ceiling above us came crashing down. We were stuck in a dent that could be described as a pigeonhole. There was hardly any space. My daughter was a little away from us and because there was no light, we could not see anything.” In the midst of the mess, Rajyashree managed to find her mobile phone and with the light generated from it, she and her husband were able to pull their daughter towards them. “We lay in the same position for about six hours. My daughter is still afraid, as she has witnessed the collapse. Even today, a faint sound is enough to wake her from her deep sleep, fearing the worst,” added Rajyashree. After a few hours, they began to suffocate, but were rescued in the nick of time. Harshada, a student of a college at CST, finds it difficult to commute to college every day due to her injuries. She usually tries to avoid using public transport and prefers travelling by private vehicles. Harshada had sustained injuries to her leg and found it difficult to walk. She now attends college and is preparing for her HSC exams that are due in February. Sanjay, who resides in a one-room house on the second floor of Shri Sai Krupa Building, feels the loss of his father who died in the collapse. He is still recovering from the shock.
Searching for a place to call home
Manohar Gurav who went to his village to perform the last rites of his deceased father escaped the collapse but lost his younger son Nitesh Gurav, in the calamity. Recollecting the incident, he said, “Nitesh had come just a year back from our village to pursue his higher education. This was the first time I had left him alone at home. His mother is still in a state of shock and I prefer not leaving her alone in the house, as the fear of being homeless still hounds her.” Gurav wants the authorities to give them a permanent residence. As of now, Gurav wants a proper place he can call home, and carry on with his life. At present they are living with their elder son Ganesh, who has resumed work after the structure collapsed. The family, like all other families affected by the incident, have nothing with them, except the clothes they were wearing that day.