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Heaps of rubble a constant reminder of Mumbra building collapse, say locals

Dwellers of tenements next to Lucky Compound say the debris next door, which hasn’t yet been cleared away, takes them back to April 4, 2013 every time they glace at it 

Though the buildings are long gone, their remains have stood untouched, as if forgotten, but an unrelenting reminder to the locals in the area of the chaos and death that Lucky Compound witnessed a year ago. 

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Until April 4 last year, three buildings stood at this plot at Shilphata, but all you can find now is debris, the slum dwellers residing on an adjoining plot will tell you. “We haven’t been able to erase the memory of the wretched evening when the seven-storey building disintegrated before our eyes and turned to dust,” they say, refusing to share their names.

Dust to dust: The land at Lucky Compound is piled with debris of what used to be buildings. Pic/Sameer Markande

Though the plot resembles land that once held buildings, ones that were razed a while ago, there are few giveaways that life once inhabited it — an overturned toilet bowl, broken bits of furniture, flotsam buried in the mounds of earth.
Security guards, and residents of the neighbouring hutments, keep watch on the forlorn compound round the clock, fearing its occupation by unwanted elements.

“So far the place hasn’t attracted any anti-social elements like junkies, as it is guarded not only by the security officers, but also the chawl residents. But we have to be alert, as we stay adjacent to Lucky Compound. We are forced to live here like this because we have nowhere else to go,” a local said.

Another man, who lives a stone’s throw from the rubble, said, “Over the last one year, we have spoken to several media persons who visited the spot. When we told them about how the entire seven-storey building had come up within two months, a few of the builder’s men warned us not to speak to the press any more.”

He wouldn’t give his name, but added, “Our shanty was next to one of the buildings that got demolished, so we had to temporarily look for another one to stay in. My family was forced to spend four months without a house, before we set up another one right next to the demolished structure.”

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