It appears that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has chosen money over matter while demolishing dilapidated buildings in the city. While none of the 95 municipal buildings that were issued C1 category notice -- urgent need for demolition -- were brought down by officials of the P-North ward office, civic officials demolished 17 such private buildings in Malad in the last 20 days. In addition, certificates were issued to the occupants of the demolished buildings so that they have a residential proof that can be used for allotting the building space for redevelopment.
Sources in the ward office said that monetary gain was the primary reason the civic body demolished the buildings. Explaining the math, source revealed that BMC charges a particular sum to the society for pressing its man and machine power into action to execute demolition. Moreover, it also levies a fine that is three times the demolition charges for the failure of the society to pull down the structure despite being served with a C1 category notice.
On average, civic body charges about Rs 50,000 for demolishing a ground+2-storeyed building and impose a fine of about Rs 1.5 lakh on the society for its failure to raze the building despite being issued a C1 category notice.
P-North ward officer Devendra Kumar Jain said, “We have put in a lot of efforts. Right from demolishing the buildings after securing consent from the society members and to distributing certificate mentioning their names and area of their respective flats. This is done with an aim so that the residents don’t face problems when they opt for redevelopment. I have been following this seriously as I do not want anymore loss of human life.”
Civic officials said with incidents of building collapses on the rise this monsoon, the building and factory department is leaving nothing to chance and is still surveying dilapidated structures in the city. The survey during monsoon is the first-ever done by the BMC.
Ward Committee Chairman of P-South and North ward Anagha Mhatre said, “This is a good drive initiated by our ward officer. With issuance of certificates to occupants, everything is transparent and easy.”
The other side
When asked when would dilapidated municipal structures be demolished, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Chandrashekhar Chore said, “There is a long procedure for demolishing municipal buildings. We need to float tenders following which winners are given the contract to carry out demolition work. The entire process takes time.”