Visiting Kalwa, Thane after the Annapurna Building collapsed on November 18, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan gave hope to many who had just lost their homes in the incident, when he promised that each family would receive compensation of Rs 1 lakh from the Chief Minister’s (CM) relief fund. A fortnight later, however, that hope is slowly ebbing from the 25 homeless families the CM’s visit has been followed by a stony silence from his office, with no word or intimation of when or how the promised money will come in.
Since no official communication regarding the compensation has reached the Thane District Collector’s office yet, the district collector himself has written to the CM’s office. In a letter dated November 30, details of the collapse have been mentioned as well as an account of the CM’s visit to the site and his announcement about a compensation.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Thane District Collector P Velrasu said, “We have not received the money yet. We have referred the matter to the Chief Minister’s office after enclosing details of the families who lost their homes in the collapse. Even we read in the newspapers about the CM’s promised compensation and although people are not directly coming to me with the matter, I am sure they are enquiring about it in the office.
Once the money comes, it would be dispersed immediately to the families. Since all the people are alive, there is no need for confirmation of legal heirs, as was the case with building collapses in Lucky Compound in Shil Phata or the Bhiwandi collapse this year.”
Annapurna building was a ground plus four structure located in Bhusar Ali, Kalwa. While the ground floor of the building had four flats, there were five flats each in all the other floors. Mahavir Jain, one of the residents who had two flats on the fourth floor, said, “We are looking forward to the compensation and are hopeful that it will come through. However, we haven’t received the promised compensation yet as promised, and so are following up the matter from our side.”
Meanwhile, the 107 residents of the building have been shifted to a transit camp at Vartak Nagar in Thane.Local NCP corporator Milind Patil said, “Residents from the building were hopeful that the money would come in soon, but are yet to receive anything. People were out of their homes and saw the building collapse before their own eyes. They were left with only clothes on their bodies.
After the CM made the announcement, the people were hopeful that the money would bring some relief, but nothing as such has happened.” Satish Lalit, PRO at the CM’s office, said, “I am not aware of the statement made by the CM on compensation for the Kalwa building collapse site, and would have to check the exact status before commenting.”