A report in this paper cited how a diamond trader and his wife got the scare of their lives when a huge portion of their kitchen ceiling came crashing down, narrowly missing their eight-year-old daughter. Furious, the diamond trader got a First Information Report (FIR) filed at Malabar Hill police station against the owner of the flat above, and the contractor who was conducting repairs at the flat in a Walkeshwar building.
The trader claimed that the owner above had stripped all the flooring of his flat above and has not taken any safety precautions. He also said that several beams and columns were removed without consulting a structural engineer. The flat owner above has denied all charges and said that permissions have been taken for the work. The building secretary claimed he did not know anything.
Alterations to flats have to be very carefully monitored. They need to be passed by experts. The housing society committee has to be fully apprised about what alterations are being made. Careful monitoring will ensure that things are not done on the sly. Once a building's structural integrity is weakened, it is very difficult to set things right again.
Flat owners themselves need to have a conscience. Are they knowingly putting other residents in danger? Aesthetics cannot be put above the safety of people residing in the structure. It is shocking that educated people throw caution to the wind and start alterations to their homes, without a proper audit on how it could affect the building and residents.
When there is a doubt or complaint, there has to be quick action to stop the renovations. One cannot wait for a calamity to happen. Let us take a non-negotiable approach. Following the Sai Siddhi building collapse, this assumes huge urgency.
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