Khanna Apartment in Worli houses a Podar Jumbo Kids franchise centre, a popular restaurant and shops
Khanna Apartment in Worli houses a Podar Jumbo Kids franchise centre, a popular restaurant and shops

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) G-South ward officer Prashant Sapkale has only one message for tenants of the crumbling Khanna Apartment, especially the Podar Jumbo Kids' franchise centre in Worli

However, the preschool is still insistent on not leaving till the structural audit report is out. The BMC's warning comes a day after mid-day's front-page report on the preschool ignoring the civic body's notice to vacate the premises.

Immediately stop
Speaking to mid-day, Sapkale said, "As far our audit of the area goes, the building has developed major cracks. We have directed all the tenants, especially the preschool, to immediately stop functioning till the [structural] audit report is out as there is a life threat to the children coming there. If the school does not follow our instructions, we will soon lodge a police complaint against them."

BMC says that looking at the life risk, the notice had a strict direction for the pre-school to stop functioning.

Since the building is a disputed property, it has been assigned to a court receiver. On July 28, BMC had also sent a notice to the receiver. "The court receiver have asked us to give them a date to conduct the structural audit," said Sapkale.

School's 'safe' bubble
Meanwhile, the preschool continues to say that the premises are safe for the children and they will not evacuate till the audit report is out.

"Our school has been running in the premises for the past 12 years and till date, it has been safe to run it here. However, we are waiting for the structural audit report to come out and then we will plan a further course of action. Till then, the school will continue to function here," said Diana Tyagi, who runs the franchise centre. She added, "I am co-coordinating with the owner of the building and trying all possible ways to assure whether the building is safe or not. The notice was put up recently, so we need some time to make a decision."

Others plan to stay too
Other tenants of the building also have no plans to follow BMC's direction of immediate evacuation. "As of now, no decision has been made over the BMC notice. We are soon going to have a meeting with the owners of the property and then decide the further course of action," said an accountant of the Flora Hotel, which is also located in the building.

However, the structure may not be safe till the audit too. A store manager of the Nature's Basket outlet that operates out of the building confirmed that a big slab fell from the building last week. "We are anyway shifting our store from this building due to lack of space. And last week a slab fell from the building, but nobody was injured," said a store manager on the condition of anonymity. Pawan Sajwani, who owns a shop in the building and is the son of one of the building's owners, said he's shutting shop after the BMC notice, too.

He told mid-day, "We are following BMC's order and immediately closing down our shop in the premises till the audit report is out. This property falls under the court receiver. I cannot force these tenants to vacate the premises; it's their call to follow the BMC order."