TAKING note of the crumbling cessed buildings and the danger they pose to their occupants, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority wants to insure over five lakh residents of over 14,000 such buildings in South Mumbai.
MHADA chairperson Prasad Lad wrote to the chief minister, the deputy chief minister and the state housing minister earlier this week, requesting them to pass a proposal to this effect. As per the proposal, residents staying in cessed buildings will be insured for Rs 5 lakh (in case of death) and Rs 2 lakh (in case of injuries), and MHADA will pay the premium.
Though MHADA is yet to calculate the exact amount of the premiums that it has offered to pay for the occupants, the housing body requested the state government for an approval to initiate the process.
Lad said, “We would be paying premium for residents of cessed buildings. There are about five lakh residents and over 14,000 cessed buildings in South Mumbai. This is necessary because whenever a building crumbles, the kin of the deceased or injured get nothing. This money will help their families.”
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan recently announced that cessed buildings in the city would be given a floor space index (FSI) of 3 for redevelopment, following which MHADA officials said this would allow them to build an additional of 25,000 homes in South Mumbai.
Cessed buildings are old, rundown buildings whose occupants pay a cess (a type of tax) to MHADA for the structure’s maintenance and repairs.
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Of the 14,000-odd buildings, 16 have been classified as ‘most dangerous’. This includes Esplanade Mansion at Kala Ghoda and Botawala Chawl at Mazgaon among others. MHADA officials claim that although most of occupants of these buildings have been relocated, some residents and tenants are still living in the buildings that were constructed before 1940.