Bhendi Bazar building collapse: Demolish Dawood Ibrahim's clout to prevent more collapses
As Minister Prakash Mehta orders probe, Demolition Man G Khairnar says there are over 4,000 illegal buildings in Bhendi Bazar but no action will be taken as Dawood Ibrahim still holds sway in the area
Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar at the site of the crash on Pakmodia Street. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
For Mumbai, D-Company might as well stand for 'Disaster Company'. Thousands of buildings across the city are on the verge of collapse, but the authorities don't dare to touch them because they were built with the blessing of Dawood Ibrahim's gang, warns BMC's 'Demolition Man', G R Khairnar, a former deputy municipal commissioner.
How many more families will pay the price for the authorities fear of the D-gang?
This is particularly common in south Mumbai, where the D-Company established its turf in the '80s and '90s. In 1992, a civic body had prepared a report where nearly 4,000 buildings from A, B C, D and E ward were identified with unauthorised construction. Of these, merely 29 were knocked down, while the rest were left alone by the authorities.
GR Khairnar, former BMC official
"It is almost impossible to bring down any illegal structure that mushroomed with the blessings of Dawood or his associates," said Khairnar, who earned the moniker Demolition Man for his aggressive action against such structures.
Inquiry into extra floor in Hussaini
Is it any wonder that the Hussaini building was a ground-plus-six-storey structure, even though MHADA records continue to state that it was a G+5 building? Prima facie, this extra storey is considered responsible for the collapse of the building.
Admitting that the extra storey in the building was illegal, Housing Minister Prakash Mehta said, "The housing department has submitted a report. According to the documents received, it clearly mentions that there was one floor that was illegally constructed. I have asked officials to find out when and how this additional floor was constructed."
'Needs political will'
BMC chief Ajoy Mehta has reiterated that he will instruct his officers to coordinate with the police and initiate action against illegal construction, irrespective of which area they fall in.
But the Demolition Man was sceptical, stating that it needs "political will" to bring down the real estate empire backed by the D-gang. "There is huge resistance when it comes to taking action against these illegal constructions even now. In the 1990s, the pressure from the gang was huge. By now it must have fizzled out to a large extent, but, certainly not to the level where authorities can pull down the illegal constructions."
Last year as well, mid-day had reported how Dawood's close aide Tariq Parveen had illegally built an eight-storey building in Dongri. Action was taken only after this paper reported about it.
Related photo story - Photos: 10 Gruesome images of the Bhendi Bazar building collapse
Exclusive video: Lalbaugcha Raja in Mumbai on day 1
Download the new mid-day android app to get updates on all the latest and trending stories on the go https://goo.gl/8Xlcvr