Dongri building collapse: Tenants were given eviction notice in March
Trust says it requested BMC to cut water supply to the building after it was declared dilapidated; civic body passes the buck to MHADA, which says building is illegal
Hours after rescue operations began at Tandel Street in Dongri, where the four-storeyed Kesarbai Mansion collapsed on Tuesday, the BMC and MHADA were busy pushing the blame for the incident on each other. While BMC claimed the building falls under MHADA's jurisdiction, the latter said the structure was illegal. One of the trustees of Bai Hirbai Rahimbhai Aloo Paroo Trust, that owns the building, said both BMC and MHADA are to blame.
Civic officials from the B ward said the building was constructed in the early 1960s on land that is currently owned by the Bai Hirbai Rahimbhai Aloo Paroo Trust. Vivek Rahi, assistant municipal commissioner of B ward said the structure was a cess building, under MHADA's jurisdiction. "The trust had submitted a structural audit report of the building in July 2017, which stated that it was dilapidated and needed to be evacuated. We had then written to MHADA in August 2017, informing them about the status of the building and that it needs to be demolished," he said.
Volunteers help take a victim out of the debris through the narrow lanes of the crash site. Pics/Suresh Karkera
Members of the trust, who are the landlords of the building, stated there are two buildings on their land and both are legal. These buildings are locally known as Kesarbai B and Kesarbai C — there is no Kesarbai A — of which the former collapsed.
'Building is illegal'
MHADA officials, however, claimed that the building is illegal. Vaishali Gadpale, chief public relations officer, MHADA said only one of the buildings comes under their jurisdiction. "There were two buildings on the plot. Kesarbai Mansion comes under our jurisdiction and we had gotten the building vacated last year. The other building, which collapsed, is behind Kesarbai Mansion and is not a MHADA cessed property. It's an illegal property, which is why we didn't intervene," she said.
A 12-old-girl being pulled out alive from the crash site
MHADA had issued a notice on August 10, 2017 to all the tenants of Kesarbai Mansion asking them to vacate the premises and apply for transit accommodation. The notice was, however, addressed to tenants of 'C' building.
No. of fire officials involved in the rescue operations
No. of NDRF members involved in the rescue operations
Barkat Ali Unia, one of the trustees, blames both BMC and MHADA for not taking appropriate action on time. "The structural audit was done for both the buildings and we had written to BMC and MHADA, asking them to disconnect the electricity and water connection of the buildings in order to evacuate the tenants. But they failed to do so," he said. He added that they had sent another evacuation notice to the tenants, BMC and MHADA in March this year as well.
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