Despite strict instructions from the municipal commissioner, officials of the building and factories department are not taking any action against illegal structures coming up in the city under the guise of repairs permission.
Usually, the buildings are either in a dilapidated state or need urgent repairs. The owners of these buildings and small-time developers take advantage of this and apply for repairs permission in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Once the permission is received, they start raising upper floors while repair work in the lower floors is going on.
No plans are prepared by the architects and submitted to the building proposals department and no sanctions are sought for commencement or the completion certificates. Every stage of raising illegal floors is done hand-in-glove with civic officials, who are well aware of the on-going work. Such buildings are not only a burden on the existing civic infrastructure like water, garbage, sewerage, but also poses danger to the lives of those residing in them. No scientific approach or engineering aspect is followed while constructing these additional floors.
However, when the building and factory department at the ward level receives any complaint from the neighbouring buildings in the area, officials just send a notice to the building to put it on record.
However, this is done ensuring enough time is given to the culprits to approach the court. Then the accused party not only approaches court well before time but also manages to forge the papers to get a stay order to avoid any action. All this while, the building proposals department has no idea what is going on at the ward level.
In South Mumbai – especially B, C and E ward – there are more than 650 such illegal buildings which seeks repairs permissions and carries out full fledged construction of additional floors.
“This all happens right under the nose of building and factory department. Officials are well versed with the situation. Even the ward officer is aware in some case but never acts,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
Amin Patel, MLA of the Bhendi Bazaar– Mohammed Ali Road area, said, “It’s a open secret in the ward. Civic officials are hand-in-glove with the developers. Such developers come up with the illegal buildings to earn quick money. ”
BMC staffers hand-in-glove with developers
The owners of dilapidated buildings and small-time developers apply for repairs permission. Once the permission is received, they start raising upper floors while repair work on the lower floors is going on.