90 families lose homes as Illegal buildings in Pydhonie to be demolished


On Monday afternoon, anxious residents of Gulistan Apartments at the crowded Ismail Curtay Road, in Pydhonie, were seen gathered outside the building, helplessly trying to figure out their next move in the face of imminent homelessness.

The building, with 90 flats, was built in seven days in 2018, with a local contractor. Four years after its illegal status was raised in the assembly and C-Ward officials suspended by the state government for allowing the structure to come up right under their nose, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) disconnected the building’s electricity and water supply on Monday.

The building stands on plot no. 57-59. A shadow of gloom enveloped the residents as personnel from C-Ward’s building and factories department came armed with police to kickstart the demolition process.

Ninety families who put in their life’s savings in buying homes in the nine-storey building were rendered homeless on Monday.

In the past, Jivak Ghegadmal, former assistant municipal commissioner, C-Ward, along with two other officials were suspended over the illegal status of the building. Incidentally, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) had informed BMC about this.

Amol Mesharam, designated officer, C-Ward and in-charge of the demolition, said, “I joined C-Ward a year ago and pursued this matter up to the Supreme Court, and today we got police force. We are in the process of disconnecting electricity and water supply of this illegal building.”

Several attempts made by BMC in the past to demolish the building were futile as residents had moved court.

“As this is a sensitive issue, we waited for Ramzan and Ganeshotsav to end before taking action. We even factored in the monsoons. We will bring it to ground zero at the earliest,” said Meshram, adding that the civic body’s image was getting tarnished due to a few notorious officers and it was time to set the record right.

Workers from BEST aided civic officials in Monday’s operations. The meter room was dismantled, and slabs and terrace walls were demolished. Water pipes were also disconnected. The building will be razed by a BMC appointed contractor in 2.5 months.

Mohammed Hussain has been residing on the third floor of Gulistan Apartments for four years with his family. He said he has no documents for the purchased flat.

“I have invested my life’s savings to buy this house. This is a 90 ft building – how did it escape BMC’s notice? My mind has gone blank completely,” said Hussain.

His neighbour on the eighth floor, Mohammed Arif, purchased a 125-sq ft flat three years ago, paying ₹22 lakh. “I live with my wife, son and daughter-in-law in this one room kitchen flat. All our savings were poured into this house and we do not know where to go now,” said Arif.

Did he not know that the building was mired in law suits? “This is all we could afford. A legal flat is unaffordable,” he said.

The building has houses of varied dimensions – one-room kitchens, 1BHKs and 2BHKs, measuring between 125 and 500 sq ft.

Mohammed Shakeel Qureshi, a local political activist, said, “The matter went to court and residents lost the case. This illegal building was constructed with the help of a contractor and flats were sold at cheap rates. He has now washed his hands off. Ninety families are affected. Senior citizens are the worst hit – they were brought down on wheelchairs.”

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)