On Thursday, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) demolished the leaning building, “as there was an apprehension that the building might collapse due to heavy rains”, said municipal commissioner Anil Kumar Pawar. Vasai-Virar received 104 mm of rain throughout the day
A part of Hanuman Nagar in Nalasopara West presented a scene of desperation on a rain-soaked day on Thursday as former residents of Zenam A and Zenam B, unable to find suitable stop-gap arrangements, walked through neighboring buildings and empty lobbies and corridors I ran to hide. Shops, with limited stock.
On Thursday, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) demolished the leaning building, “as there was an apprehension that the building might collapse due to heavy rains”, said municipal commissioner Anil Kumar Pawar. Vasai-Virar received 104 mm of rain throughout the day.
A day earlier, 50 families from both the buildings were asked to vacate their homes as Zenam A was inclined towards Zenam B. Sixteen families lived in Zenam A and 34 in Zenam B.
Though the civic body is providing food and water to the affected families, the homeless people are dependent on the kindness of others for their basic needs. “It is a temporary arrangement. We have been asked to look for accommodation ourselves after a week, which is a challenge given the weather conditions. The roads in the area and all low-lying areas are inundated,” said Sanjay Dantani, 35, an imitation jewelery dealer who lived on the first floor of the four-storey collapsed building.
When Dantani’s 87-year-old mother heard of his impending homelessness, she fainted. “We have been living here for the last 12 years. We had received a notice from the corporation only two months ago, stating that the building was in a dilapidated condition. The civic body has not bothered to conduct any structural audit of the building in the past,” he said.
Besides Zenam A, the VVMC had sent notices to residents of over 100 dilapidated buildings in Hanuman Nagar. According to the civic body, at least 521 buildings under its jurisdiction are in a critical condition; All other residents have been given notices to vacate the premises.
Municipal officials said the buildings in Hanuman Nagar, which also includes a part of Samarth Nagar, are illegal as they are built on salt-rich land. Laxman Kharwa, a second-floor resident of Zenam A, said, “The government looks the other way when illegal buildings are constructed. We buy these houses because they are available to us at affordable rates and we are not worried about their legal status.”
They work in shops, factories and imitation jewelery units, and earn an average of ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 per month.