One of the many satisfied residents who transferred to Chuna Bhatti

16th September 2017,

Varun Singh

Over the last 10 days, the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) has signed more than 70 agreements with tenants of dilapidated buildings in Bhendi Bazaar to move them to transit accommodation in Chunabhatti. To convince unbending residents, the trust is resorting to the use of social media and highlighting stories of people who have chosen life over a dangerous home.

One such message on SBUT’s Twitter handle reads, “Its been three months since we’ve left our 18-year-old home in Bhendi Bazaar. Leaving was not easy, but it seemed the best option, given the condition of our buildings. While I stay back at our new home in Chunabhatti, my family finds the train commute most convenient. My four-year-old son now goes to a school in Kurla. Getting a transfer wasn’t a hassle. We’re happy.- Saeeda Afzal Khan.”

Another message tells the story of 23-year-old Manal Khan. “Of course I didn’t want to leave Bhendi Bazaar. My friends live nearby. But sometimes, we need to detach from emotions and make practical decisions. That’s what my parents taught me. I perceived commute to be inconvenient, but the railway station is a 7-minute walk away from our home in Chunabhatti. We feel safe. At least we know the roof over our head will stay intact. Literally.”

When contacted them, an SBUT spokesperson said, “The transit camps in Chunabhatti are good, they are well-connected and we provide every benefit, from furniture to electronic gadgets, to the tenants.”

The SBUT took up the task after the Hussaini building collapsed in Bhendi Bazaar on August 31, killing 33 persons and injuring 17.