Through consistent vigilance and follow-ups, the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) has managed to achieve its target of having zero casualties during the monsoon due to building collapse this year. The civic body did this by demolishing or vacating 50 structures marked dilapidated and dangerous. Meanwhile, UMC officials are following up with the residents who have not yet submitted structural audit reports for their buildings.
Ulhasnagar city came up to accommodate Sindhi migrants from Pakistan. Plots in the city were given to the migrants to build homes. This led to a unique problem of having no city survey numbers or government records. Due to this issue, many of the buildings which are dilapidated haven’t been redeveloped and residents have no other option but to continue living in the dangerous structures.
A total of five structures were demolished
In the past, there were instances of buildings collapsing in Ulhasnagar city during the monsoon, leading to casualties. This year, UMC Commissioner Aziz Shaikh had set a target to have zero casualties due to dangerous buildings. “We had arranged a meeting in April 2023 with residents, local representatives and corporation officials announcing a category-wise list of dangerous buildings. Of these, 50 buildings were such that eviction or demolition was needed,” a UMC official said.
After the meeting, officials sent notices to all the 1,300 buildings in the city to get their structural audit reports submitted to the corporation. However, the reports for only 270 buildings were received. Meanwhile, the civic body, based on their data, also listed a few more buildings in C1, C2A and C2B, and C3 categories (dilapidated or needing repair).
“After all the exercise of structural audits, we listed 50 buildings which needed immediate attention. Of these five needed immediate evacuation and demolition while 45 needed repairs after evacuation,” said Ganesh Shimpi, nodal officer, UMC. “After sending notices for evacuation and carrying out visits, in July 2023, we sent notices of disconnection of water and electricity to residents of 20 buildings and this expedited the evacuation process,” he added.
Soon after the notices, the residents started to evacuate the buildings and by the end of September, every building listed as dangerous had been evacuated. Currently, the demolition of two buildings is being carried out. Due to these preventive measures by the UMC, there were no casualties or injuries when a portion of Dwarka Mahal collapsed on July 21 as the building had already been evacuated.
“We had a vision and the corporation worked in that direction. I am happy to achieve this target and that we managed to save valuable lives this year. The participation of residents and local representatives was equally important,” Aziz Sheikh, UMC commissioner, said. Civic officials are now pursuing residents who have not submitted structural audit reports.
No of buildings listed as dilapidated or dangerous