Last year's shed collapse forces residents to ban curious rooftop onlookers

Sep 29, 2012, 06:50 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Mohammadi building residents, who witnessed a part of their structure in Lalbaug collapse, won't allow people to enter their premise to view the visarjan procession this year

Adopting a once-bitten-twice-shy approach, residents of Mohammadi building in Lalbaug have decided that no outsiders would be allowed to access their building to view — Lalbaugcha Raja’s final journey this year.

Rajendra Shah

During the lord’s immersion procession last year, the shed of a shop in Lalbaug that was brimming with onlookers gave way. The shed collapsed because it was unable to take the weight of people standing on it; luckily no major causalities were reported. 

Shed collapse in last year
No entry: Rajendra Shah (top) had to shell out Rs 1.5 lakh to construct a new shed after it collapsed last year (above) because it was unable to take the weight of people standing on it, waiting to get a glimpse of Lalbaugcha Raja’s final journey. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The memories of that unpleasant incident have compelled residents of Mohammadi building 1, 2 and 3 to ensure that their old building is off-limits to outsiders, thereby ensuring people don’t climb on to the roof, which offers a vantage point of the city’s most popular idol’s immersion procession.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Rajendra Shah, proprietor of Rajendra Kumar & Co, who had to bear a huge monetary loss after the shed of his shop collapsed, recalled that on the fateful morning, he did not open his shop due to visarjan, and at 11.30 am he received phone calls stating that the shed had collapsed and that the same was being broadcasted on television.

“I switched on the TV and was shocked to see people falling. I rushed down, but luckily no body was seriously injured,” he said.

His ancestral shop that sells metal items used for pujas has existed there for the last seven decades and such an incident has never occurred before. According to Shah, around 70 shops are based on the ground plus one-storey Mohammadi building, which is a dilapidated structure.

Soon after the accident, Shah approached his insurance company, but they refused to compensate him on the ground that Shah had constructed a weather shed, which was not covered in the policy that he had taken.

Shah added, “I had to spend over Rs 1.5 lakh to reconstruct the shed. People should understand that such sheds can’t take the load and should refrain from standing on it, as it is risky.”

“We do not want our Lalbaugcha Raja’s name to get negative publicity. We were shocked when the incident occurred last year and felt very bad,” said Suhasini Jadhav, who has been staying on the first floor of the building for the last 40 years.

From Delhi with love
Rahul Narvekar, a Delhi-based industrialist who is originally from Mumbai, while explaining to his colleagues about the festive fervour in Mumbai during the immersion procession was buoyed up by the enthusiastic response from his colleagues. He has hired an open truck wherein 21 drummers would be playing the traditional Pune Dhols. His team will arrive from Delhi and accompany the Lalbaugcha Raja when it reaches Gamdevi with their truck and the dholwalas.

The morning after
Over 60 students from Oberoi International School will be deployed, along with several NGO’s, to clean up the entire stretch of Aksa and Marve beaches in Malad (W), from 8 am on Sunday. “The drive is aimed at spreading awareness and to educate people and expose the students to ecological concerns and consideration in terms of marine pollution in the wake of International Coastal Cleanup Day,” said a school official. 

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