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HC asks BMC panel to inspect Esplanade building, submit report

The Bombay High Court directed the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to inspect the heritage Esplanade building in South Mumbai and submit a report on whether it can be repaired.

A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai also directed the TAC to submit its inspection report to the court by August 1 this year.

A portion of the facade of the building had collapsed earlier this month.

The building that houses several small shops and offices of lawyers from the HC and the city civil and sessions court, has been in a dilapidated condition for years now.

In 2015, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) had served eviction notices to all the tenants in the building.

However, the tenants, led by advocate Ashok Sarogi who has an office in the building, had secured a stay from the HC on the notice after they told the court that they would continue occupying the building at “their own risk”.

On the previous hearing last week, MHADA had informed the court that around 15 families, who were co-owners of the building, and 208 tenants were still occupying the building.

The owners of the building, who as per MHADA, are liable to carry out the repair work, had told the bench that the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) was insisting that the building be repaired and restored using material such as cast iron and other things used in the original construction work in the 1860s.

This would make the repair work very expensive, the landlords of the building said.

The bench, however, had observed that it was imperative that the authorities took a decision on the repair work soon to avoid any “disaster” in the future.

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