BMC orders demolition of 5-storey slums near Bandra station

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Image: Yogesh Sadhwani

Two weeks after a section of the media reported about it, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has ordered the demolition of the skyhigh shanties next to Bandra Skywalk in Behrampada.

After Mid-Day carried the story about the slum’s ‘high rises’ on June 7, BMC had ordered the local ward officer to conduct a survey and prepare a report on the number of such ‘illegal structures’.

While surveying the area, BMC officials identified over 350 five-storey shanties and 500 two/three-storey ones in the area. The officials physically inspected the structures from the outside and added them to the tally.

The height of the shanties poses significant risk to dwellers since the structure is not standing on a solid foundation and can collapse under heavy rainfall. Moreover, the closely knit settlements are also a fire hazard, with a higher susceptibility to damage and difficulty to conduct rescue operations.

As a result, the owners of the respective shanties were served notice by BMC officials. However, since the area is Muslim-dominated, the civic body choose not to evacuate them during the holy month of Ramzan.

Having said that, the BMC has ordered that the shanties be demolished immediately after monsoon. Since the land is owned by the collector, MMRDA and Railways, the civic body might have to co-ordinate with them to ensure that the land is free from any illegal encroachment.

In the last 7 years, two major fire incidents have taken place in the area claiming the lives of over fifteen residents and leaving thousands homeless.

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