Mumbai, April 6: Most visitors to Mumbai think it to be corrupted version of Mumbai. Mumbra is a corrupted version of Mumbai in social and economic sense. It is a victim of urbanisation, quick money, shortage of housing and all round apathy.
The building collapse in Lucky Compound on Thursday killing 72 people is a horrible outcome of neglect and greed.
Mumbra is spread over the side of the hills that begin at the edge of Thane Creek. It spreads from the creek to the hills.
According Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's own admission, nine out of 10 buildings in the town were either illegal or irregular. And these apartment blocks are built without any space between one building and the other structure.
To call them structures is also a crime as most of them are constructed without proper foundation, steel, cement and plan.
The buildings are an answer to acute housing shortage for lower middle class working in Mumbai, Thane and nearby industrial areas.
Since Mumbra is part of Thane Creek area and marshy, the buildings require proper foundation and curing while constructing. The collapsed building came up in just three to four months.
The apartments in Mumbra are sold at a low price and hence are built of sub-standard materials.
Those in Mumbai know that the tragedy was due the acute need for housing in Thane and its suburbs, and the flourishing land-grab business patronized by the powerful politico-builder-police-civic official nexus.
As a result of this nexus the builder manages to get illegal water and electricity connections for the building.
While the illegality of the seven-storey building in the Sheelphata area came to light only after it collapsed on Thursday evening, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) was well aware of the violations done by the builder. The civic administration received various complaints regarding the illegal structure and yet failed to take action.
But what action can be taken if the politico-builder-police-civic official nexus is at hand to prevent any official crackdown.
As Thane Municipal Commissioner R A Rajeev admitted, "there are at least 2,000 buildings illegally built in Mumbra, one of the most difficult areas - both socially and communally - under the TMC."
Dominated by the minority community, Mumbra is a ghetto, which is rarely visited by the officials. With nobody to challenge them, the builders continue to prosper, building more Lucky Compounds and housing unlucky people.