Who’s to blame for Mumbai buildings collapsing like pack of cards every year?
On Tuesday, July 25, a 35-year-old four-story building descended as a deck of cards to Ghatkopar, Mumbai, adding to the long list of disasters that have traveled for many years. The incident touched 17 lives and the reason for the accident was obvious to everyone.
The three-story owner, who would also be a prominent political team leader, opted to make illegal modifications to his apartments, trying to turn what was once a break house into a bar-restaurant.
In his enthusiasm (or greed, which might be more appropriate here), he even removed the pillars and beams that hold the building.
When the building crashed, the days after the modifications were made, the maximum losses were on the lower floors.
The tragedy, however, raises other issues – it is especially necessary to examine how buildings in Mumbai are developed, how they are maintained, how they are controlled – and take a step back, how land is acquired for the development of these properties in the first place .
In the Ghatkopar case, residents complained about the change to the landlord, whose wife had unsuccessfully challenged municipal elections over the years, first on a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) note, on a Shiv Sena note.
It was reported that residents were afraid of their political influence and may not want to address the issue with local authorities. Or maybe it happened before they even realized what was going on.
The year 2013 was perhaps one of the worst in recent Mumbai history when it came to homes that collapsed. On April 4, 2013, 74 people – including 18 children – died when a building collapsed on tribal lands in Mumbra, a suburb of Thane.
The building was under construction and had no occupancy certificate and no standard practice was followed. Those who lost their lives were construction workers and their families.
In June 2013, a five-storey building collapsed near the famed Mahim Dargah, killing ten people. Once again, the cause was illegal structural changes that were carried out on the ground floor, which was transformed into an auto showroom …….