Mumbai: 17 July
Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi last Friday (12 July, 2019) directed BMC’s ‘L’ Ward Officer, Mahesh Valanju, to file criminal charges under the Maharashtra Region & Town Planning (MRTP) Act for endangering the lives of residents of Sangharsh Nagar against the builder Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, after a stretch of 50 yards of road caved in at Sangharsh Nagar, Chandivili, after persistent rains.
Sangharsh Nagar is one of Asia’s largest slum rehabilitation project housing around 65,000 people. Shapoorji Pallonji is currently building a residential project in an adjacent plot in Chandivili. A delegation of Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti, the official NGO that conceived the rehab project and is monitoring it, pointed out that the builder had not taken adequate security measures like constructing a shoring/supporting wall before excavating a three-level basement.
The construction site is at a lower level from the Sangharsh Nagar road, and after the collapse certain the foundations of two neighbouring rehab buildings have been exposed and some cracks are visible. Residents of the two building had been moved to another unoccupied rehab building in the colony till the SRA inspected the buildings and declared them safe.
The BMC has issued a stop work notice to Shapoorji Pallonji following the collapse of the Sangharsh Nagar road, as reported by the Asst.Commissioner ‘L’ Ward.
The NIvara Hakk delegation urged the Municipal Commissioner not to allow construction work to begin before a complete safety audit is completed and implemented, and penalties imposed on the builder. Mr. P K Das, Joint Convenor of Nivara Hakk, who prepared a report that has been submitted to the Municipal Commissioner on the reasons for the collapse, pointed out that the road had caved in in a similar manner during the monsoons of 2017. However, the builder and the local BMC officials had failed to take adequate remedial measures. A copy of the report is enclosed herewith
The NIvara Hakk delegation representing residents from over 238 buildings of the rehab complex, also urged the Municipal Commissioner to examine the extreme water supply shortage in the complex, and enhance the flow. At present, some buildings are getting water for barely 10-15 minutes every third day, it was pointed out.
Taking note of the situation, Mr Pardeshi directed the Hydraulic Engineer to ensure additional water connections to enhance the flow. He said part of the problem was due to multiple illegal connections in the area. He also made it clear that additional water connections will only be provided to buildings who had cleared their water dues and property taxes and the various illegal connections shall be removed.
Nivara Hakk, which had promoted the rehab project for residents of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park since 1999, has been pressing the BMC and State Government to take over the common areas of the layout, and in particular maintain the common services including road management, street lights, and garbage disposal. These demands have been pressed following the failure of the rehab builder, Sumer Corporation, to maintain the common services. For the last one month the local residents have been agitating on these issues, and even sat on dharna in large numbers at Azad Maidan.
It was also pointed out to the Municipal Commissioner that the construction of a market complex, part of the covenant signed by builder Sumer Corp, had not been fulfilled, creating a huge hawker problem in the area, with the expected spin-off of choking drains and hygiene issues. It also appears that the demand of the BMC to deposit Rs 63 crore for the unfinished work, has also not been fulfilled by Sumer Corporation.
Following the discussions, Mr Pardeshi, directed ‘L’ Ward Officer to take over the layout roads and the erection and maintenance of the street lights. He also said the BMC will initiate tenders for the construction of a Market complex as soon as possible.
The Sangharsh Nagar SRA project, spread over nearly 90 acres of land at Chandivili, was initiated in 1999 by the Nivara Hakk, after alternative rehab sites for the oustees of Sanjay Gandhi National Park were found to be unsuitable. The first keys to the residents were handed over on 1 May 2007, by then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, and so far around 12,000 families have been rehabilitated in around 238 buildings. The second phase of the project, to rehabilitate around 8,000 families from the Park, is still pending clearance, following height restrictions imposed by the Airport Authority of India.
Construction work for the first phase was carried out by Sumer Corp. The second phase is being developed by D B Realty.
For details contact: P K Das at 9820022311, or Sanjay Dawre - 8108396979
Joint Convenor – Nivara Hakk
- Letter to the Municipal Commissioner
- Photos of Sangharsh Nagar