More than 2,000 families staying in sector 26 of Vashi, that were looking forward to redevelopment of their dangerous and dilapidated buildings condition, have been dealt a rude shock by NMMC.
The civic body’s town planning authority has issued a notice to the residents saying that the proposal to reconstruct their buildings has been found ineligible by the identification committee appointed under NMMC. And this, after an expert from IIT-Bombay has conducted a detailed study and declared the buildings as dangerous to inhabit, and in prompt need for reconstruction.
“Instead of just scrutinising the process and inspecting the documentation of our proposal, the identification committee has exceeded its brief and delivered a huge setback to us,” says Namdeo Patil, Secretary of the one of the eight associations that constitute the cluster of old buildings in Vashi.
To bolster their case for priority permission for redevelopment under the state’s new GR granting additional FSI to old Cidco buildings, the residents roped in the services of IIT-Bombay to conduct a detailed study on the condition of the buildings. From testing of plaster and hammer tests to laser tests and load bearing tests, the experts conducted a detailed study along various parameters across the buildings, before compiling their report.
“These buildings are in severely distressed condition and remain vulnerable in accidental loadings, keeping in mind the latest codal provisions. Therefore, these buildings remain in dangerous condition and structurally unfit to reside at present,” remarked professor S Banerjee of IIT-B’s Civil Engineering Department in his test report, adding that major structural and non-structural repair as well as strengthening cost will be uneconomical and therefore, it will be prudent to go for reconstruction of these buildings.
The technical structural audit report, issued on June 3, 2016, was part of the residents’ proposal for redevelopment, in respect of which NMMC’s Identification Committee took up the proposal, as per the guidelines of the new GR. In its letter issued to the residents on July 28, 2016, the corporation said that the identification committee conducted its procedure and have eventually rejected the proposal for redevelopment.
Among the rejected building complexes of Vashi are Vasant Vihar, Pragati, Happy Home, Maharashtra, Chintamani, Omkar, Vaibhav and Preeti Sangam, that collectively house over 2,000 families, living in perpetual fear of their homes crumbling in the face of the harsh weather conditions.
“On one hand, the civic chief promises fast-track development and on the other hand, a committee chaired by him derails much-needed redevelopment,” said another office bearer, adding that a delegation of residents has gone and met Nitin Kareer, Principal Secretary-Urban Development, apprising him of the situation.
“The urban development department has assured us that necessary directives will be issued to NMMC to reconsider their harsh action,” the office-bearer said.
Meanwhile, the civic officials maintained that the rejection of the redevelopment process was as per the provisions.
“I would be unable to comment on the merits of the report of IIT-B experts, but the findings of the identification committee are in the public domain and anyone can access it through proper channel,” said Kishore Agraharkar, a senior official of NMMC’s town planning department.