BMC evicts staff from homes even before structural audit

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is taking no chances when it comes to the safety of its employees, even if it means evicting them from apartments that have been declared ‘repairable’ and not ‘most dangerous’.

After the horrific Dockyard Road building collapse in September, the BMC is apparently on a mission to evict employees from homes even before their buildings are audited and categorised as C1 (most dangerous) or C2 (repairable).

Dockyard Road building crash
After the recent Dockyard Road building crash, the BMC doesn’t seem to be taking any chances and has asked residents of a few buildings to evict the premises even before the structural audit has been conducted. File Pic

A note from the BMC commissioner clearly states that people should be asked to vacate a house only after a proper structural audit of the building is done. There are some buildings in the city, where residents have been asked to vacate before the structure has been audited.

The latest to face the axe are 260 employees of the SWM (Solid Waste Management) department who have been told to vacate their premises. These employees live in two buildings -- the SWM staff quarters at Chembur near the Chembur railway station and at Rajwadkar Street, Colaba. The eviction notice was issued to them last week, soon after BMC employees residing in Gautam Nagar and Chirag Nagar were served similar notices. Interestingly, all these employees are being asked to shift to Mahul, near Chembur for alternate accommodation. Most employees are obviously not keen to shift to this area as it will mean nightmarish commutes to their children’s school and workplaces.

According to BMC officials, a structural auditor will soon be appointed who will review each building to see whether they can be repaired or need to be razed and reconstructed. In the meanwhile, the BMC is also in the process of floating tenders to build transit camps in areas close to each of the SWM staff quarters. The BMC plans to have transit camps in Gautam Nagar, Mahim, Rajwadkar Street and three other locations where their own employees are staying in buildings more than 30 years old. However, employees are not happy with this development, as it means shifting to Mahul for at least two years, which for many is not a good option considering that their children’s schools are close to their current residence.

“Shifting to Mahul will be inconvenient. Imagine the children travelling halfway across the city to go to school. We are not rich and cannot afford to send them in school buses or taxis. The authorities should give us alternative accommodation close by,” an SWM employee told SUNDAY MiD DAY. BMC officials say they are trying their best to solve the problem and will float tenders by November 15 to build transit camps. “This problem should be addressed within two years,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner (City), under whose jurisdiction SWM comes, said, “I do not want to take any chances with my employees’ safety. We have served notices to those residing in the dilapidated buildings in Chembur and Rajwadkar Street. They need to vacate their premises and accommodation will be given to them at Mahul. We are also in the process of issuing tenders for building transit camps at six different locations across the city.”

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