Imagine having to keep a buffer of half an hour every time you want to go out somewhere, not because of traffic or transport problems, but because that’s simply how long it takes to go downstairs in the building lift. This has become a regular problem in a MHADA building in Mazgaon, with over 1,000 residents in 240 flats across 24 storeys, but only two working lifts.
Lift kara de: With over 1,000 residents living in the building, there is always a queue for the two functioning lifts
Rush hour is just as bad in the lifts as it is in Mumbai’s local trains, said residents of this MHADA building, which experienced an elevator breakdown in February. All three of the lifts had stopped working due to flooding after a resident left his tap open. The water entered the elevator shafts and damaged the wiring and the lift cars. While one lift was immediately fixed, another was repaired only some time ago. The third lift, however, still remains defunct.
At any point of time, there is a queue for the lifts, and when mid-day visited the building, it took half an hour to get inside the lift. The situation is so bad, that residents – even senior citizens – simply take the stairs, since they will probably get home faster that way.
The building’s 79-year-old secretary, Gajanan Tiwrekar, often chooses to climb the stairs to his 10th-floor apartment rather than wait for the lift. Pics/Onkar Devlekar
It’s no different for the 79-year-old building secretary, Gajanan Tiwrekar, who climbs up to his 10th storey apartment every time. His son, Rakesh, told mid-day, “Every evening, there are queues outside our lifts in the lobby and it takes at least 30 minutes to get inside. My father cannot wait so long; whenever he wants to go out, he uses the stairs. It’s upsetting to see how senior citizens are suffering here. They are mill workers who had to first struggle to get the flats, only to struggle again because of the lifts.”
Gajanan has been following up with MHADA over the lift regularly, but the housing agency has said it will only repair the lift if the residents fork out Rs 5 lakh for the expenses.
The building chairman, Bhalchandra Todankar is also in his 70s, but is forced to take the stairs. “Youngsters still can run and accommodate themselves in the lift, but we have no option but to wait for a chance to get in. Most of the times, the lift is packed and we end up using the stairs. We have written to MHADA many times, but the third lift still hasn’t been fixed,” said Todankar.
Another resident, Dharmendra Pratap Singh, said, “I have been going to the MHADA office regularly, but they haven’t done anything so far. They asked us to collect money for the repairs, but MHADA already collects maintenance from us, so they should fix the lift and then hand over the building to us.”
Rs 5lakh Amount MHADA has asked residents to shell out for the repair of the lift
Amit Bhasharkar, executive engineer at MHADA’s electrical division, who is handling the case, told this paper, “We are ready to hand over the building to the residents once the lift is repaired. We want the problem to be solved, but we cannot ask just one person to pay for damage to the lift. Hence, we have asked the residents to share the burden.”