Bandra building collapse opened up the Pandora’s box and highlighted the manner in which we citizens give importance to security of buildings in the metro. The building crash incident claimed six lives. This five storey structure could not bear the weight of illegal floors and the collapse was inevitable.
Whether, it is pagri system or plain rented or owner occupied loss of life should be avoided. Municipal Corporations should be vested with enough powers by the courts so that such buildings are either repaired by levying repair charges on the tenant or on owner else the structure should be completely demolished. A monthly cess or compulsory insurance on old buildings above 30 years will go a long way in mitigating such recurring human tragedies.
The Municipal Corporations while issuing notices to the residents of structurally gone weak buildings to evacuate, should also provide alternate temporary accomodation to enable them to shift there immediately. Without having any alternate arrangements, where can residents think of shifting their families with their belongings? In this case, those who had such an arrangement, vacated, left and saved their lives. But those who did not have said sort of arrangement to shift and stay, had to remain compulsorily in the said dilapidated building and ultimately paid the price for it.
The Government of Maharashtra must think and act to save lives of poor people dying on this count and in view of the fact there are thousands of such buildings in Mumbai and suburbs that remain insecure for habitation. However, the state of the buildings which are on the verge of collapse due to their life span has already expired, and still the people continue to reside there and risk their own lives. Flat owners should strictly adhere to the rules and the warnings issued by the BMC and use their presence of mind to vacate their houses in time to make sure that they do not fall prey to the building crash incidents frequently happening in the city. Unauthorised construction over and above permissible limit is the root cause for all the major building collapses in the city.
Time-bound redevelopment of such dilapidated buildings is a must, otherwise, we will see more lives being lost in Mumbai and suburbs. It is indeed a very sad and shocking incident. Affordable housing is unavailable in the metropolis these days. My heart goes out to the families of the victims.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)