Residents vacate homes after canopy collapses

Less than a year after the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) installed instruments to measure distress in a Mahim building located near the under-construction Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 line, the building’s canopy collapsed on Wednesday, spreading panic among its residents. At the time of filing this report, 15 of the 25 families of Rehmat Manzil on L J Road had vacated their homes. The families that have decided to stay on are doing so only because they have not been able to make any alternative arrangements. Mumbai Mirror had reported the plight of the residents of Rehmat Manzil in a report in its October 15, 2017 edition when tremors caused by the drilling work carried out for the Metro would make utensils fall off the shelves in the houses. The building had also developed cracks. An MMRCL spokesperson, however, denied Wednesday’s collapse had anything to with the Metro work. 

“The building is in a dilapidated condition. In surveys carried out earlier Rehmat Manzil’s structural condition was categorised as ‘severe’. None of the instruments installed on the building displayed any abnormal readings,” he said, adding that there is no major Metro-related construction going on in the area. Residents, however, allege that the Metro work has weakened the building and is the direct cause of the collapse of the 70-foot long canopy from the third floor. Abdullah Bilakhia, a first-floor resident of Rehmat Manzil, said each time MMRCL contractors operate boring machines; utensils in his kitchen come crashing down. Masood Shahnizan, who lives on the third floor of the building which also houses ‘Taaza’ restaurant on its ground floor said: “There are 20 senior citizens, 15 kids and infants living in this building. MMRCL has done nothing despite residents making multiple complaints to them,” he said. Mohammed Hussain Shovji, whose balcony on the third floor is now filled with debris, said that his house experiences constant trickle of loose cement every time MMRCL machines carry out work. “When we complained, they installed meters to record cracks. That is all they did,” he said.

Munzarin Qureshi, who also has a house on the third floor, said his daughter had a narrow escape. “She was in the balcony. The canopy came down just seconds after she went inside,” he said. Zeeba Yezdi, who has vacated her house, said that moving houses with her baby and old parents was a nightmare. “We had to lift my 90-year-old grandma and take her to a relative’s home. MMRCL had assured us that everything was safe,” she said. Mumtaz Hussein, a resident of the second floor, said while they have gotten used to slight tremors, the collapse of the canopy has left them shaken. “We have nowhere else to go so we are staying put,” she said. Along the Metro 3 route, there are 16 vulnerable buildings in Dadar alone whose structural weakness has been categorised as ‘severe.’ 

Source: Mumbai Mirror

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