Mumbai: Why transit camp residents in Goregaon are living in fear

In 2013, MHADA demolished several rooms in the Siddharth Nagar transit camp in Goregaon; since then, the neighbours of these half-broken structures fear the buildings may collapse on them any day

Residents of the MHADA transit camp at Siddharth Nagar, Goregaon, have been living in dangerous conditions since the last two years. Their houses are adjacent to buildings that were razed in parts in 2013, and now stand half-demolished and potentially unstable.

Not only has MHADA left the residents to live in unsafe conditions, but they have also not cleared the debris from the 2013 demolition
Not only has MHADA left the residents to live in unsafe conditions, but they have also not cleared the debris from the 2013 demolition

Out of the total 24 buildings inside the transit camp in Goregaon, there were four buildings in which 23 rooms were illegally occupied by residents. In 2013, MHADA demolished 41 legal rooms in Building No 4-7 and sent the residents to other transit camps. The authorities left behind the debris on the spot, thereby affecting the residents.

Break point
There are many rooms that are adjacent to one that has been completely demolished. This situation poses a threat to the occupants, since the structure is potentially unstable because of the imbalance of load.

With a room on the ground floor of the building razed, how safe can the floor above be?
With a room on the ground floor of the building razed, how safe can the floor above be?

Yogesh Kupekar, a resident at the transit camp, said, “I have been staying here for 30 years. After the demolition of some rooms, the infrastructure of our rooms has been badly affected, leaving cracks on our ceiling and walls.

Further, MHADA has not yet cleared the debris of the rooms that were demolished two years ago.” The transit camp comprises people who belong to the Lalbaug, Parel, Sion, and Bhoiwada areas, but had to move here due to various reasons; some had to move after the 1992 riots; a few were part of a slum rehabilitation scheme, and others used to live in an old building on the verge of collapse.

A few days ago, BMC corporator and chairman of P/South ward, Pramila Shinde, had visited the spot along with civic officials. “BMC officials say that since the transit camps belongs to MHADA, they do not have the authority to take any action.

Hence, I will write a letter to the Chief Minister highlighting the negligence by MHADA and the dangerous condition in which the people are staying in these camps,” Shinde said. She further added that she has received a letter from locals stating that they wish to permanently move to another location in Goregaon because of the unsafe conditions in the camp. 

Shinde further claimed that the BMC has released advertisements with a list of dangerous buildings in the P/South ward, but these structures in Siddharth Nagar find no mention in the list.

MHADA speak
S S Zende, vice-president and chief executive officer, MHADA, said, “If the condition is very critical in these camps, we will take the necessary steps to move the residents to a safer place at the earliest.” P D Malikner, MHADA chief officer, transit camps said, “We are moving the residents living in dangerous conditions immediately on Thursday.

Around 64 families were staying in building number 4 to 7. Out of which, 41 legal residents have been shifted to transit camps. But the remaining ones are staying there illegally. We had partially demolished the structure so that they will leave.

But the residents went to court claiming they are legally bound to stay there. Till now, no decision has come regarding the matter hence, rather than waiting for court’s order, we will shift the residents immediately. We are going to rebuild the transit camp once all the occupants are shifted.”

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