The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has so far heard 79 cases from among 389 BMC-owned buildings and 18 private buildings that have contested the civic body's decision to categorise them as dilapidated structures.
According to civic officials, of the 79 cases, TAC said 40 buildings should not be categorised as dilapidated structures as people could occupy them after repairs.
Of the 389 BMC-owned buildings, eight comes under the chief fire officer, 20 belong to the hydraulic engineering department, 38 are of the solid waste management department, 23 come under markets, 14 under water supply project, 3 are hospital buildings, 5 come under HO and a whopping 278 belong to the estate department.
As per the present rule, buildings that are more than 30-years-old, have to undergo a compulsory structural audit. It has to be carried out by any of the 1,643 licensed-private consultants appointed by the civic body. The civic body has prescribed certain tests that these buildings have to undergo during the audit.
If residents are not satisfied with the result of an audit they are free to approach another panel of agencies comprising experts from IIT-Bombay, Veermata Jeejabai Technological Institute (VJTI) and eight other private consultants for a second opinion. TAC would then compare the reports of two panels and come to a decision.
"In many cases, we found that the reports submitted by the two panels were contradictory in nature. In at least 50% of the cases, a building that had been declared dilapidated by a consultant was given a 'repairs-would-do' chit by the second govt agency," said Laxman Vhatkar, director, engineering projects and services.
"In two cases, the consultants had to be warned of disciplinary action as they had not carried out a proper inspection and tests as per the rules," he added.
"There have been instances when a consultant has given a report based on just visual inspection," a civic official said.
The process of structural audit usually takes two months and cost ranges between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5-6 lakh, depending on the size of the building.
"In case the residents of a BMC buildings demand a second audit, they will have to meet the expenses," a civic official said. He also said there have been cases where owners of private buildings have opted for private consultants for structural audit in order to hide the condition of their buildings.
As per BMC records, currently the number of dilapidated structures in the city is estimated at 1,236.