Are we waiting for another building collapse incident?

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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has vacated Sheetal Cinema building at LBS road, Kurla (W) in order to avert another building collapse incident like the one that occurred at Ghatkopar which claimed seventeen lives. However Sheetal restaurant and bar continues to function due to the lackadaisical attitude of the civic body. If the restaurant is not vacated then there is a possibility of recurrence of a tragedy similar to the one which happened in Ghatkopar. Only two weeks have passed ever since the Siddhi Sai apartment has collapsed in Ghatkopar as victims are facing severe hardships. Thus there are possibilities of reoccurrence of the incident of Ghatkopar in Kurla West.

On 27th June 2017, a part of the Sheetal cinema building collapsed due to which the BMC fire brigade and police rushed and vacated the building and sealed the premises. The theatre has always been known to attract large number of visitors as it is famous for screening Bhojpuri films. The collapsed happened on the day of Ramzan Id when the shows were houseful with thousand seats sold. Fortunately mishap happened at around 11.00 a.m. when the show had not started. If the incident had occurred an hour later there would have been around thousand casualties.

RTI activist Anil Galgali has already filed a complaint with the Assistant Engineer regarding the unauthorised extension carried out by Sheetal restaurant and bar. He urged the BMC officials to take action against the restaurant.

“It is necessary to shut down the restaurant and bar and initiate action by police department against people who are not co-operating for their self-interest and are endangering lives of thousands of people,” said Galgali.

When we spoke to Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar he said, “We will look into this matter and take the necessary action.”

 

Sanjay Potnis, Shiv Sena MLA from Kurla said, “I will seek further information regarding this issue from the concerned authorities. Action must be taken as per the verdict delivered by Bombay High Court.”

 
When we tried to contact BMC chief Ajoy Mehta he remained unavailable for comment.

Sheetal Restaurant and Bar which is on the ground floor has made changes in structural beams and columns which has made the condition of the building unsafe and dangerous. Upon request of BMC ‘L’ Ward Kurla, Architect Mr. Shashank Mehendale has done the survey of the building and has submitted the report mentioning the building is unsafe. As per the report of IIT Bombay, the said structure has been classified as ‘C-1’ due to structural changes made in columns and beams by Sheetal Restaurant and Bar and thus occupants have been asked to vacate the premises immediately.

Due to the current condition of the building it has been necessary to vacate and demolish the same, since it is located close to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Talav. Large number of people shall be visiting the place on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi festival.