HC directs MHADA to evacuate and barricade Esplanade Mansion
Four days after the deadline to vacate it, MHADA officials said while 104 tenants have moved out, 64 others still occupy the galas and have locks of their own on the doors
The Bombay High Court issued a series of directions to the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) officials on Tuesday, to ensure that the dilapidated 150-year-old Esplanade Mansion is completely evacuated and doesn’t pose a threat to pedestrians. Four days after the deadline to vacate it, MHADA officials said while 104 tenants have moved out, 64 others still occupy the galas and have locks of their own on the doors.
'Open locks, remove belongings'
Justices SC Dharmadhikari and GS Patel directed MHADA officials to open the locks, remove the belongings and store them at a safe location. "People should not continue to live in that building. Kindly remove the belongings, prepare an inventory and issue notices to the tenants, circulate them in the newspapers and put the notice on the building," said Justice Dharmadhikari during the hearing. Prakash Lad, the advocate who represents MHADA, said that the officials will remove any remaining belongings of tenants within the next eight days and store them at the transit camp locations, possibly at Colaba or Sion.
Justice Patel also raised questions about the kind of precautions being taken by MHADA to prevent any other part of the building from collapsing. He pointed out that if there is no proper barricading, then portions of the building may fall on passing cars, buses or pedestrians. “Propping of the entire width of the building should be done. Have you identified where propping is necessary and are there any documents to show this?” he asked.
Asked for plan
The justices then directed MHADA to submit a list of precautions and a plan for propping and barricading the building by June 19. The discussion for further steps will be taken up at the next hearing on June 21. Patel said that apart from barricading, MHADA will also have to provide an alternative path for pedestrians who currently walk on the footpath which runs along the building. Justice Patel also directed MHADA to prepare a list of the tenants and document their claims to the galas in Esplanade Mansion. If rival claims are made for galas, then the cases can be looked into later.
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