The building collapse at the Zoroastrian Building Fund that claimed the life of an 82-year-old woman has once again highlighted the importance of timely repairs to old buildings.
On Tuesday morning, a part of the roof of Soona Building at Zoroastrian Building Fund, Chikalwadi, Tardeo, came crashing down and killed senior citizen Homai Bharucha and injured another senior citizen. The incident has now struck fear in the lives of the other residents of the building, who claim that the old building hasn’t been repaired even though it is more than 90 years old.
Homai’s granddaughter Sanaya told MiD DAY that Homai was bedridden owing to illnesses. “I was at home when I heard a sudden crash and when I ran to my granny’s room, I found that the entire section had collapsed and my grandmother was under all the debris,” said Sanaya.
Sanaya alleged that the neighbours had been complaining to the trustees of the building of the disrepair but no action had been taken. “For the past nine months, the neighbours were sending letters to the trustees to take appropriate action but to no avail. If the trustees had taken action, my grandmother wouldn’t have met with this tragic fate. The trustees could have saved my grandmom’s life,” said an agitated Sanaya.
The other residents of the colony consisting of 23 buildings complained that the trust only collected money but did nothing to maintain the old buildings.
“The trustees are least interested in maintaining the buildings. We have written so many letters, every year but they haven’t taken any action. We pay Rs 800 as rent but no repairs are done,” said Rusi Master, a committee member of the tenants association of the Zoroastrian Building Fund.
And it’s not only the trust that the residents are grumbling about. Residents complained that even MHADA had failed to maintain the buildings. “MHADA repaired the floors but didn’t erect supporters for the building. They replaced our strong wooden work with an iron framework of inferior quality, which must have resulted in the collapse,” said another resident.
When contacted, MHADA’s Repair Board’s Chief officer Mohan Thombre informed that the building was not in the list of dilapidated buildings. “The building is 90 years old and in 2009 as well as this June we had asked the building residents to repair the building. We offered the tenants along with the affected parties to shift to transit camps, but they refused our offer,” said Thombre.
MiD DAY’s attempts to contact Zoroastrian Building Fund’s trustee Dinyar Jamshedji proved futile.