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Mumbai school does BMC a favour, collapses before demolition

The vacated three-storey building of Vakola Municipal High School was declared dilapidated in 2009; a portion of the building collapsed on Friday due to heavy rains

Heavy rains lashing the city have caused the first building collapse of the season. On Friday, a portion of the Vakola Municipal High School building gave way.

FIRST FALL OF THE SEASON: The corridor of the 50-year-old building collapsed on Friday while classes were going on in the adjacent building
First fall of the season: The corridor of the 50-year-old building collapsed on Friday while classes were going on in the adjacent building

Luckily, the three-storey building had been closed off after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) declared it dilapidated in 2009, and no one was injured. The corridor of the 50-year-old building came down due to heavy rainfall.

The Santacruz (East) school had two buildings of three-storeys each, which had been declared dilapidated by the BMC five years ago. While the civic body had torn down one building in 2011, the demolition of the other building, which collapsed yesterday, had been put off since the last three years.

The classrooms were shifted to a third building in 2009, when the BMC feared that the two structures might come down any day. While the civic body was planning to demolish the second building in the coming months, the collapse took the children and teachers by surprise. Soon after the incident, parents rushed to the school to take their kids back.

“We knew that the building might fall any time. While we shifted to another building, we have been writing several letters to the BMC. The only action from their end was that engineers would come from time to time to take photos of the dilapidated structure. Even in the new building, the planks on the last floor are an issue, but the civic body continues to turn a deaf ear to our problems,” said Jayshree Varak, an employee of the school.

Shubhangi Adhate, the principal of the school, said, “The BMC’s slow-paced system led to this incident. Despite writing several letters, the civic authorities did not turn up after demolishing the first building.”

A junior engineer from BMC’s H-east ward, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The tender for demolition work and construction of a new building was in progress.”

The fire officer who was present on the spot after the incident, Dattatre Sampatrao Shitole, told mid-day, “We will also remove the trees that fell during the collapse.” School authorities, on their part, have disconnected the power supply to the collapsed building, and have decided to reopen the school on Monday, till the time the situation is under control.

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