By N.P.G Nair
It is reported that in recent times massive housing colonies have come up in the suburbs of Greater Mumbai and Thane districts violating all acceptable norms and principles laid down by the civic authorities. To check this unhealthy trend at its earliest, Mr. R .A. Rajeev Municipal Commissioner of Thane, has now ordered to demolish ruthlessly at least 16000 buildings all built over the last 5 years.
It is reported that in recent times massive housing colonies have come up in the suburbs of Greater Mumbai and Thane districts violating all acceptable norms and principles laid down by the civic authorities. To check this unhealthy trend at its earliest, Mr.R.A.Rajeev Municipal Commissioner of Thane, has now ordered to demolish ruthlessly at least 16000 buildings all built over the last 5 years. A structurally weak residential 7-storey building in Lucky compound had collapsed in 1974 and also another one broke down in the recent past, in Mumbra.
As per the official report, a quiet number of dilapidated buildings say about 56000 of these are in Andheri, Jogeswari and Malad, in greater Mumbai. All these illegal constructions are happening mainly because of routine corruptions practiced in the prevailing building industry. Right from the commencement of construction to the final occupation by buyers, required certificates are taken not in time as these documents have become a routine
eligibility rights for the Builders and they take these for granted. The concerned authorities, regret to say, are indifferent, even fail to comply with the required norms and procedures including insistence on usage of quality materials as inputs besides enforcing high safety standards for construction. Eventually this results into the Builders taking the accommodation buyers for a ride. All mandatory periodical checks are bypassed and this skips quality
constructions in all respects, it is alleged and reported. Eventually the Flat seekers fall prey to these unscrupulous money makers and have to struggle all their life throughout on their dream house. Alternatively, either one could imagine why such structures are collapsing much before the guarantee period of normal 80 years even and as such complexes will easily go in for redevelopment as is happening in the Mumbai suburbs in their early ages.
It is very strange enough to understand as to why the authorities take too much time and delay to unearth such and similar irregularities. In one such major case, in Campa Cola compound in Worli, Mumbai, two 17 and 20 storey Buildings built in 1980 and 1989 respectively, the Supreme Court orders have come to the residents to vacate their premises beyond fourth floors due to irregularities in constructions, as reported. This was revealed only in the year 2005 that the Builders have flouted the FSI and they are in violation. This amounts to victimizing nearly 100 such residents who await the demolition of this illegal structures at any time now. It has become extremely difficult to know for an aam admi whether he/she should purchase a house in Mumbai/Thana/Navi Mumbai or better go in for a house on lease rent basis instead of investing their life’s earnings in such risky propositions.
Let us leave aside the gloomy picture of housing industry for a while. This segment will continue to be a sunrise sector for a long time to come. Reasons are very obvious. There is an exodus of people migrating from the rural to the urban area searching for livelihood. And they evidently increase the pressure on the land mass and thereby the demand for housing and other facilities in general. One good look at the industry will tell you that the prices of housing have shot up by about 60 to 70 per cent in a matter of five years. Looking at it from another angle this is a good investment opportunity for the cash rich when compared to many other investment segments open today.
All that is required is that the concerned authorities in the government moves up from the damage control mode to a proactive system of vigorous planning and implementation of housing policies taking into confidence the builders and contractors and other agencies.
All should follow a vigorous code of business ethics and quality system at every stage of operation. Taking this for granted let us hope Mumbai will thus finally turn into a paradise and be the envy of other highly regarded metros elsewhere in the world.