Obviously, those who died mostly belonged to different families. Where is affordable housing these days? My heart goes out to the families of the victims.
What is amazing is that tenants, knowing fully well that the structures are illegal, rent it with risk. What is more surprising is that the electricity department provides power connection meters to these building helping out the cause of stay. If you look at it, you realise that there were violations by everyone concerned and such a deadly cocktail had to end in some catastrophe such as a building collapse of an illegal structure. Did those who rent space in the buildings imagine that disasters happened only to other people? They are as culpable in this crime as the owner and the officials.
BMC has failed to follow construction norms strictly and educate the residents of dilapidated buildings in a better way to avoid such fatal mishaps and that made matters worse. Residents on the other hand fail to adhere to Municipal Corporation’s instructions and pay heavy price for that. The residents not only lose their property as well life of near and dear ones. Now BMC should check and on erring builders, who resort to illegal construction without proper plan and permission. Building crash in Bhiwandi and other similar incidents have created a fear psychosis among the residents. The residents will have to seek permission from the society before making alternations within and outside the building. Even unauthorised extensions will have to be condemned and if required needs to be demolished with BMC supervision. This will give other residents the fear when they look for extra space within the four walls and not to occupy the space not meant for them as per the plan.
Awareness about not changing the main walls and beams had always been there and a close watch needs to be taken. The impetus for these long needed changes has come in the wake of recent building collapses during the monsoon season. Instead of just conducting an inquiry and just brush aside the matter civic body should have a holistic approach to the crux of the problem in building crashes of this nature. One of the various arguments given as to the causes of building collapses were laxity in implementation of building by-laws. Whether BMC officials will pay heed to the fact and act fast before some more buildings fall and cause major losses.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)