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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Ulhasnagar residents thrown out three weeks before the rains come

Ulhasnagar residents thrown out three weeks before the rains come

Updated on: 25 May,2023 07:59 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Anurag Kamble |

Civic body puts foot down citing safety reasons and begins demolition of eight Ulhas buildings and eviction of 50; long-time residents scramble to find alternative accommodation

Ulhasnagar residents thrown out three weeks before the rains come

UMC began the demolition of Vinay Apartment, a dangerous building that was lying vacant, on Wednesday: (left) mid-day’s report on Wednesday

A day after the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) began a drive to evict people from dangerous structures, many residents have been forced to run from pillar to post to find alternative accommodation. Many continue to stay in the highly dilapidated structures as they are unable to afford accommodation elsewhere in the city. UMC officials, however, are hell-bent on urging residents to leave the buildings, as they don’t want to take chances in the monsoon. 

Every year the UMC releases a list of buildings which are categorised as highly dangerous to live, dangerous but need repairs after eviction of residents, and dangerous but need repairs that can be done without eviction. This year UMC has stated that eight buildings must be demolished urgently while 50 need to be evicted for repairs. At least 250 families stay in the 50 buildings. mid-day reached out to the residents of buildings that were declared dangerous and to be demolished, as well as those which need to be vacated for repairs.

Also Read: Mumbai: Railways to lift nearly 60 km of tracks to prevent flooding

‘Can’t afford rents’

Mangala Chauhan lives with her paralytic husband, son and daughter-in-law at Dwarka Dham Apartment at Ramayan Nagar. The building has only four families living in two towers. It has been categorised in the 50 buildings which have to be evicted for repairs. She said, “I bought this 2BHK flat in 2018 for Rs 30 lakh. But in the past one and half years, everyone started leaving the place. There is no unity among the residents, so whoever can afford to get a flat on rent, left. My son is the only one who earns in the family. We can’t afford even a 1BHK now.”

One of the buildings declared dangerous in Ulhasnagar. Pics/Navneet BarhateOne of the buildings declared dangerous in Ulhasnagar. Pics/Navneet Barhate

Chauhan said, “The real estate market has shot up in Ulhasnagar after the pandemic, especially as there were incidents of slab collapsing. There is no flat available for rent below Rs 10,000. We are trying really hard, but haven’t found one”.

Asked what if something untoward happens, she smiled and replied, “What’s in our destiny will happen. One can’t run away from things”.

Tej Palace, a five-storey building, has more people living on rent than owners of flats. Raju Makhija, a 57-year-old hawker staying in it  said, “This is my second flat on rent in the same building in past 10 years. I know the structure is old and dangerous, but can’t move out with seven family members. I can’t afford Rs 10,000 rent every month. Plus, here I stay in a 3BHK. If I move out, it will hamper my business, children’s education as well.”

Dwarka Dham is among the 50 buildings whose residents have to be evicted before they  can be repaired. Pic/Navneet BarhateDwarka Dham is among the 50 buildings whose residents have to be evicted before they  can be repaired. Pic/Navneet Barhate

Makhija lives with his elderly mother, sister, wife and children. When asked if he isn’t scared for his life, he said, “It’s all about luck, If one has to die, one can die anywhere. Along with me, there are more than 10 families living in this building. My fate will be no different from them.”

Manoharlal Bhatia, a 67-year-old, lives on the second floor of Lavina Palace, one of the eight buildings which have to be demolished urgently. He said, “We bought this 2 BHK flat 10 years ago. As the building’s condition worsened people began leaving the place”.

The building has six floors and there are six flats on every floor. The building’s security guard also lives with his family on the ground floor. Bhatia, who lives with his wife and children, said, “In the past three months, many occupants have left. Seeing this we also started checking for a flat on rent. We have found one and will shift there within a week.”

‘Residents not united’

A resident from Mata Lajwanti Apartment at Khemani Chowk, which is among the 50 buildings, said, “Who would like to live in such conditions? But there is no unity among the residents. Nobody is willing to sit across the table and chalk out a plan for a solution. There are old parents in our building in the age group 70 years-80 years. What will happen to them if a slab or the building collapses?”

A real estate agent said, “Ulhasnagar is a small township. People who live here have their business or jobs in nearby areas. So leaving this place becomes a challenging task, and so is finding a vacant flat. Since last year, there is a fight to get flats. Rents which were earlier from Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 for a 1BHK and Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 for a 2BHK have gone up at least by Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000. That’s the reason people risk their lives and live in such dangerous structures.”

UMC officials who had gone to demolish Gulmohar Park on Tuesday were requested by two families there for another 24 hours to vacate the place. On Wednesday, the families vacated the premises. The demolition work of Vinay Apartment, a ground-plus-four-storey structure, lying vacant for two  years started on Wednesday. “Even if there are no residents living here, we don’t want to leave this place as it is, as it may be occupied by poor families or anti-social elements. Hence these structures are being demolished right away,” said a UMC official.

UMC speak

“Instructions from the UMC are loud and clear. We had a meeting with all the stakeholders to give them an understanding of the situation too. We don’t want a single casualty this monsoon due to building collapses. If residents come to a consensus about structural audit, repairs, etc, UMC can always guide them. But we see complete ignorance on their part,” said Jamir Lengrekar, additional commissioner of the UMC.

No. of families staying in buildings that must be emptied for repairs

Buildings to be demolished in first phase of drive

.  Gulmohar Park
.  Sai Upahaar Apartment
.  Komal Park
.  Lavina Palace
.  My Home Apartment
These are among the eight that have to be pulled down

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