Dongri building collapse: Survivors say Fadnavis promised Rs 5 lakh aid, collector’s office claims assured only Rs 3 lakh

Tabassum Barnagarwala
Dongri building collapse, devendra Fadnavis, survivors sy cm promised aid, mumbai news, maharashtra news, indian express news

Naved with his mother at their Byculla home. (Photo: Prashant Nadkar)

Six month after three-storey Kesarbai building in Dongri collapsed, killing 14 people, including four children, relatives of the deceased claim they are yet to receive the Rs 5-lakh compensation promised by the previous Devendra Fadnavis government.

While the kin of the deceased claim that the then government had promised them Rs 5 lakh as compensation, officials from the city collector’s office said only Rs 3 lakh was assured and the amount has already been paid. While the state government had paid Rs 2 lakh, Rs 1 lakh has been paid from the Prime Minister’s fund, they added.

On July 17 last year, a day after the building collapse, it was reported in the media that the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) had announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 and free medical treatment for the injured.

Uttar Pradesh native Rasheed Idrisy (28) had lost both his sons Arbaaz (7) and Shehzad (9), who suffered asphyxiation, as they remained trapped for hours after the building collapsed on July 16. His wife Alema (28) was the last one to be pulled out, 18 hours after the building collapsed. Both his sons were dead by then.

The couple could only retrieve Alema’s purse from the rubble that had her Aadhar card and a cellphone. “Our jewellery, worth Rs 30,000, was lost. All our utensils, clothes, furniture was gone,” Alema said.

Alema spent three months at JJ hospital where doctors tried to salvage her hand and conducted two major surgeries. She is now on intensive physiotherapy. As they struggle to set up a new home in Masjid Bunder, where they live at a rent of Rs 6,000, they claim the government has paid them Rs 3 lakh each for the deaths of their sons instead of the Rs 5 lakh promised by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“We not only lost our sons, but also our home. What is the use of government aid if we have to make rounds of government offices for our compensation?” Rasheed, a tailor, said. He said he is a daily wager and cannot spent an entire day standing in queue outside the collector’s office.

The third floor of Kesarbai building was occupied by the Sattar family that lost its seniormost member, Abdul Sattar, and his daughter-in-law Sadiya Sattar. “Four members of our family were injured. We are yet to receive the compensation of Rs 50,000 for them although they received free treatment at JJ hospital,” Shahnawaz Shaikh, Sattar’s son, said.

The family of six has now moved on rent to Rehmaniya Building, near the collapse site. “We owned the entire floor and now it’s gone. We could retrieve nothing from the rubble,” Shaikh said, adding that the family was given Rs 6 lakh as compensation, instead of Rs 10 lakh, for the death of two of its members.

Naved Salmani, who lost his wife Sana and 18-month-old son Ibrahim in the collapse, said he was informed by his relatives that the CM had announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh. “Later, I saw it in the news. But we only got two cheques of Rs 3 lakh each,” he said.

The four family members who were injured, including Naved, have received the compensation offered to the injured. “Moving to a new home and setting up everything has been difficult. I lost my wife and my mother is too old to manage the house. We could retrieve nothing from the collapse site. Most of us were in hospital at that time,” he said.

When contacted, Mumbai Collector Rajeev Nivatkar said his office has given Rs 3 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. “I will have to reach out to the CMO to understand if an announcement of Rs 5 lakh was made,” he added.