Mahendra Kambre lives in the third floor of Tata Nagar building in eastern Mumbai’s Chunnabhatti. Over a year ago, a portion of their veranda collapsed forcing him and 72 other families to negotiate the structure with a rope.
Constructed in 1954, Tata nagar housed the workers of the now defunct Swadeshi mills. It has 122 one room houses spread over 3 floors. In 2016, civic authorities severed the buildings water & electricity supply to force residents to vacate the shaky decrepit structure.
“Swadeshi mills shut down in 2000. They have yet to pay the dues of 2800 workers. Neither is the company paying our dues nor they are helping us with our house. We cannot afford to leave. Rents outside are 32,000 -35,000 rupees. From where can we get that kind of money? What will we eat?” says Chirag, a resident of the building.
Residents claim they want to redevelop the building but don’t own the land. They claim they are protected by a Supreme Court Judgement that says mill workers living on mill lands can’t be evicted unless rehabilitated.