MUMBAI: The cost-sharing formula devised by the tenants of a cessed building near Princess Street junction in south Mumbai, the trust that owns the structure and the state housing authority for carrying out major structural repairs can be applied to similar dilapidated buildings across the city, observed the Bombay high court on Friday.
A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai heard a petition by two residents of one of the five ground-plus-two-storey buildings owned by the H B Wadia Fire Temple Charity Fund claiming that neither the landlord/trust nor the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) was ready to repair the dilapidated building citing financial inability. The total expenditure estimated by the court-appointed architect was around Rs 75 lakh. The HC's efforts to get the community's corporate houses to contribute towards the expenses had also not elicited positive responses.
At an earlier hearing, the trust and the tenants agreed to contribute one-third each towards the repairs. On Friday, Mhada, too, informed the court that it can contribute around Rs 22 lakh. The HC said that it would dispose of the petition by directing one-third contribution by all, and enquired if any contractors have been shortlisted for the repair work.
While the advocate for the trust sought time to respond, the tenants' advocates, Raju Moray and Sagar Rane, urged for a direction that the work of the contractor selected must be certified by an independent structural engineer to ensure that it will last for at least 15 years.
"Contractors appointed by public bodies just do surface work," said Moray, adding that most dilapidated buildings do not get repaired because it is not possible for any single party to pay 100% of the cost. "Therefore, the formula of one-third payment each by the landlord, tenants and Mhada can be applied to other dilapidated buildings too," said Moray. The judges agreed. "It [the formula] can be used in the case of most [cessed] buildings. We'll make an observation in our order,'' said Justice Kanade, adjourning the hearing.