499 Mumbai Buildings On Same High-Risk List As One That Collapsed

In the year 2015, Mumbai recorded 1,830 “structural collapses”. 59% of such collapses were of residential buildings.

Updated
India
3 min read
14 people, including the owner of the Kesarbai building, died after the four-storey building came crashing down in Mumbai’s Dongri on Tuesday, 16 July.
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With more than 40 people feared trapped in the collapse of a three-storeyed building in south Mumbai on July 16, 2019, 499 buildings in the city have been identified as similarly vulnerable, an IndianSpend analysis of municipal data reveals that the fire- and disaster-management budget for India’s financial capital declined 38 percent over three years to 2020.

Mumbai Collapsing – Track The Quint’s coverage of Mumbai’s collapsing infrastructure here.

Fire Brigade and NDRF personnel carry out rescue works after the collapse of the four-storey Kesarbai building at Dongri in Mumbai on 16 July 2019.  
Fire Brigade and NDRF personnel carry out rescue works after the collapse of the four-storey Kesarbai building at Dongri in Mumbai on 16 July 2019.  
(Photo: PTI)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is India’s richest civic body.

The decline in its disaster management and fire-brigade budget unfolded alongside a 60 percent rise in funding, over two years to 2020, to build an eight-lane, 32-km coastal road along the island-city’s western seaboard, according to our analysis of municipal data from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

The inadequacy of the BMC’s fire-and-disaster response was evident in the fact that only one in three emergency calls to the fire brigade in south Mumbai received help within eight minutes – the internationally accepted standard – according to an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay study quoted in the Hindustan Times on June 2, 2019.

The IIT study recommended more fire stations and extra vehicles for the brigade’s fleet to better service south Mumbai, an area with 92,312 people per sq km, compared to 10,796 per sq km in New York, a city with four million fewer people than Mumbai’s 12.4 million.

The dire situation in Mumbai is mirrored nationwide, with 1,830 “structural collapses”reported in 2015, the latest year for which data are available, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Up to 59 percent or 1,080 such collapses were of “dwelling-houses/residential buildings”.

That same year, 1,885 people - or five every day--died in “structural collapses”. Of these, 1,109 -or three every day - died in “dwelling-houses/residential buildings” collapses.

In the 2019-20 municipal budget, the BMC set aside Rs 201.4 crore or 2 percent of its capital expenditure, for the Mumbai Fire Brigade. This covers investments for new disaster management equipment, safety gear, vehicles and fire stations.

While this is an 11.5 percent increase from 2018-19, the fire brigade’s budget is still recovering from a drop of 39.7 percent and 7.5 percent over two years to 2018-19. Before that, the BMC’s budget for this head had seen a five-year peak at Rs 273.9 crore in 2016-17.

In 2017-18, the BMC included the coastal road project in its capital expenditure, allocating Rs 1,000 crore ($156 million) for the year. Thereafter, spending on the project rose by 33 percent in 2018-19 and by 6 percent in 2019-20.

The July 16 disaster came 709 days after the BMC, on August 7, 2017, identified the Kesarbhai building that collapsed in south Mumbai’s Dongri as a “dangerous structure” that needed to be “vacated & demolished”.
BMC identified the Kesarbhai building that collapsed in south Mumbai’s Dongri as a “dangerous structure”. 
BMC identified the Kesarbhai building that collapsed in south Mumbai’s Dongri as a “dangerous structure”. 
(Photo Courtesy: Prabhat Rahangdale)

‘BMC Identified Building As Dangerous Structure’

‘449 Buildings In Mumbai are Dilapidated’

BMC’s Fund Allocations For Disaster Management

Expenditure On Fire Brigade v/s Coastal Road

5 people died in “structural collapses” every day in 2015 in India.

(This was first published on IndiaSpend and has been republished with permission.)

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