SP leader said illegal developments had taken place under the guise of repairs and maintenance.
Mumbai: The collapse of the four-storey Kesarbai building Tuesday which killed 14 persons, has brought to the fore the fact that Dongri, which is part of a municipal ward with the highest population density, has become a hotbed of illegal constructions.
Rais Sheikh, leader of the Samajwadi Party (SP) in the BMC who once lived in this area, said that illegal developments had taken place under the guise of repairs and maintenance. These buildings stood close to each other with very little space separating them and in many cases, illegal extensions overlapped the adjacent structures, he said.
Raising the issue in the standing committee Wednesday, he said, “I did my schooling in that area. Illegal structures have mushroomed there. Action needs to be taken against those people who have raised the illegal structures.”
Yusuf Panjabi, former corporator of Pydhonie, said that those persons who were building illegal structures for their own monetary gain should be punished as they were playing with the lives of people. Local authorities were not keeping tabs on illegal development in the vicinity, which led to the Dongri mishap. The way illegal structures were coming up in Dongri, it would be difficult to reach out to these areas during times of emergency.
The SP corporator said, “These buildings have been built without permission from the BMC under the guise of carrying out structural repairs, which has further increased the load on the already weakened structures.”
He pointed out that illegal parking was another major issue in Dongri which had a population of 1.28 lakh spread over just 2.84 square kilometre, which often posed hurdles in cases of emergency like Tuesday.
A local resident said that the entire B ward had become a hub of unauthorised constructions and that such alterations could be found in almost every building.
Rashid Pathan, an advocate who lives in Dongri, said, “There are several buildings that have been built by violating norms. Though the BMC is aware of these violations, it prefers not to act as some officials have taken money from builders for allowing illegal constructions.”