'Powerless' topper flunks exam

Six families residing at Chembur’s Amar Mahal residential society are living with out water and power for the past six months after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) M-west ward served an evacuation notice to the residents.

Mayank Padmakar and Isha Padmakar,  residents of Amar Mahal, studying with the help of candles after the electric connection to their home was disconnected by the BMC. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

But while the adults are paying the price for not moving out of adilapidated building that might collapse at any time, despite several warnings, it is the plight of a talented child that is most disconcerting.

The Amar Mahal building in Chembur. Pic/ Pradeep Dhivar

Mayank Padmakar a Class V student of a local school in Tilak Nagar, is a regular class topper who scored 93 per cent in his annual exams last year. Sadly this year, he has failed in four subjects. The reason: there is no power or water at home and he spends more time fighting mosquitoes than studying. “I feel frustrated and cannot concentrate on my studies because of no electricity at home. I go to school along with my younger sister and come home by 1 pm. Then we have to complete studying and complete our homework by dusk as we cannot see anything after dark.”

Kishore Padmakar, Mayank’s father, said, “Our water connection was cut in June and later in August, the BMC stopped our electricity supply. Our building is not in a dilapidated condition though the adjacent Amar Mahal Palace could be. Still the civic body has declared our residential building dilapidated too. We don’t know who owns our property. The builder who has bought this property is not coming forward. We are ready to go for redevelopment. We were paying our water and electricity bills till the BMC stopped supply. Now we have to buy drinking water from the store everyday.”

There were 100 apartments at Amar Mahal but after the evacuation notice while the others have left, six families decided to live in dark risking their lives. Most of them have contracted malaria or dengue in the past six months.

According to BMC M-west ward sources the owner of the society is one Bhaskar Iyer and he has been prosecuted many times for allowing tenants to stay on despite of building being declared dilapidated by the BMC. He has now given a written declaration stating he is not responsible for any untoward incident since the building has already been declared unsafe.

When contacted Bhaskar Iyer confirmed he was prosecuted earlier by the BMC for allowing the residents to live in Amar Mahal. He however, refused to reveal any further details.

BMC Speak
Sandhya Nandedkar, assistant municipal commissioner, M-west ward, said, “We have served a notice to many buildings in Chembur. Amar Mahal is one of them. We are authorised to disconnect the water and electricity supply of buildings once it is declared a C1 category (very unsafe). Within two months we will evacuate all such buildings with the help of the police.  

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