Crowd outside the Dhamji Sadan building. Pics/Sameer Markande
The Sai Siddhi collapse seems to have not left any impression on residents living in the crumbling Dhamji Sadan building in Ghatkopar East. Despite the ground-plus-three storey building tilting to the left around 7.30 pm on Wednesday, they refused to vacate it, and even protested the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) action of disconnecting their water and electricity supply.
The Dhamji Sadan building in Ghatkopar East
The BMC control room had received a call from locals saying that a balcony on the left side of the building on the first floor had caved in. However, tenants claimed that the building has been in this shape since the last three years.
Local police and BMC swung into action soon after. Around 32 tenants – 12 residential and 20 commercial – of the Dhamji Sadan building, which is more than 50 years old, were immediately asked to vacate the premises.
Rakhi Jadhav, local NCP corporator said, "According to BMC officials, several evacuation notices have been sent to the building and now they want the building to be completely vacated. But the residents are opposing it, as after that they will have nowhere to go to. BMC needs to give them an alternate accommodation so they can cooperate with the administration."
'Just a rumour'
"In 2009, since the ownership of the building changed, no repair work has been done by the landlord. The balconies on the left side of the building have tilted since the past three years. Nothing has happened today; it is just a rumour.
No residents have called the police and BMC," said Miten Dalal, who has been residing in Dhamji Sadan for the past 50 years. Dalal added, "I live here with my family. It was really unfair of the BMC and police suddenly coming up and asking us to vacate our house. Where will we go?"
Also read: Residents panic as building in Vashi tilts
An eyewitness at the site said, "Before the police arrived, the certain vibration was felt. In fact, a few parts of the slab also fell. Thankfully, nobody was injured. The area is very crowded, especially in the evening and many would have died had the building collapsed."
Confirming the incident, Praful Phadke, a senior inspector from Pant Nagar police station said, "People in the building created issues, but they have to understand it is unsafe for them to reside here."
Despite several attempts, assistant municipal commissioner Bhagyashree Kapse remained unavailable for comment.
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