Vashi and Nerul are among the first two nodes developed by CIDCO in the 70’s. Today it is almost the third generation of occupants who are residing in the houses built by CIDCO at that time. Today the condition of buildings is such that they may collapse any time.
K Somakumar, general secretary of Navi Mumbai Co-operative Housing Federation informs, “Normally the life of a building is 100 years if it is properly maintained. But nowadays quality of raw materials is not maintained and hence the lifespan of buildings has also decreased. In the case of Navi Mumbai, you will find that both government and private-built buildings are in poor condition. Each year NMMC comes up with a list of 50 plus such buildings which are asked to be vacated because of their precarious condition but residents occupying them prefer to ignore the same. This is what brings in the need of structural audit of these buildings which are in a dilapidated condition and need urgent repair”.
Somakumar adds, “Comp-laints of leakages, cracks and ceilings falling are very common in city buildings. In such a situation the life of any resident can be very stressful, leading to fights among neighbours”.
“In Navi Mumbai there are more than 4500 co-operative housing societies and most of them have been built around 30 years ago. This is what has raised the risk to the lives of people residing in these dilapidated buildings. The solution to the problem is implementation of structural audit of each and every structure which is 15 years old and above. As per the model bye laws 2001 of Co-operative Housing Society Act, structural audit is mandatory for the buildings which are 15 years old. And henceforth each structure of the city will have to undergo structural auditing through an authorized structural engineer,” says Somakumar.
He adds “Unfortunately, till date NMMC has not brought any such law to authorize engineers or architects as structural auditors even though it is the only administering body. So these auditors have to approach either CIDCO, the developing authority for authorization or those who are authorized by MCGM are allowed to carry out auditing work in the city. The federation has also prepared a list of such auditors for reference of societies. But it’s still not being understood why NMMC is not willing to take a step to authorize auditors for its limits. This will help residents to stay without any fear”.
NMMC’s additional city engineer Surendra Patil says, “There is a provision to authorize structural auditors, but it will require NMMC to form a separate wing with more manpower. However, since most of NMMC’s work is outsourced, it has opted to allow authorization by any other authority to conduct structural audit within the city.”
—Jaspal Singh Naol