Mumbai: Who will take up structural audit? No one has a clue

Since building is a cessed property, Abubakar Mansion comes under MHADA. But both Port Trust and BMC could have a say in it. Till audit is conducted, no one can be let in

Residents of Abubakar Mansion can be allowed back in only after a structural audit of the building is carried out. But there is no clarity on who will take up this task — the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) or the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Cooling operations were underway at Metro House yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Cooling operations were underway at Metro House yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Since Metro House is a cessed building, it comes under MHADA’s purview. But it has been built on land leased out by MbPT. Besides as the city planning authority, BMC mostly has a say in the structural audits of all buildings.

When mid-day visited the building yesterday, it found a number of windows broken, their frames and several wrought iron structures melted across the second and third floors. Shards of glass, and charred concrete covered many homes, and soot lined the length of the walls and the ceilings. Everything was in disarray. Pics/Varun SinghWhen mid-day visited the building yesterday, it found a number of windows broken, their frames and several wrought iron structures melted across the second and third floors. Shards of glass, and charred concrete covered many homes, and soot lined the length of the walls and the ceilings. Everything was in disarray. Pics/Varun Singh

Until a structural audit is conducted, neither the residents nor the shopkeepers will be allowed to get back in.

Garje, executive engineer of A ward, MHADA, said, “The building is a cessed property, but we cannot perform any structural audit. The BMC had told us that they will seal the building and a structural audit will be conducted.”

Sources in the BMC said the civic body will send out a notice for an audit soon.

S Chavan, officer of A ward, said, “Usually in such situations, a notice is issued to the building for carrying out a structural audit. But I am on leave and it (the issue) also falls under the building department.”

Onus on landlord?
There’s another section in the BMC and the MHADA, though, that feels that the building’s landlord will have to carry out the audit.

But the building owners said since they don’t have access to the whole building in the wake of the fire, they cannot review anything.

Viren Assar, legal counsel for landlord Rafiq Malik, said, “We will be allowed to enter the building only by Monday. So far, the owners aren’t thinking about a structural audit. Once we review the state of the
building, then such decisions can be taken.”

Garje said the MHADA’s job will end with giving a no-objection certificate to the landlord, if they agree to repairs. “Nothing beyond that.”

Repeated attempts to contact Sanjay Bhatia, chairman of MbPT, went in vain.

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