Arshi Khan’s publicist and senior journalist Flynn Remedios had a miraculous escape today, when the false ceiling of the room in which he was living in suddenly collapsed today early morning. Remedios was residing in a rented room near Malad off the Western Express Highway.
Says Flynn Remedios, “The false ceiling along with its framework came down suddenly. In fact, it had developed cracks 5 days ago and I immediately informed the owner, but no action was taken. I even requested the caretaker to shift me to another room, but the flatly told me that no other room was vacant. Today morning, as I was lying on the bed and speaking on the phone, the entire false ceiling gave way. Fortunately, for me, the fan saved me from getting seriously injured, as the blades of the fan, delayed the collapse of the ceiling by a few seconds which gave me enough time to immediately rush into the bathroom. “
“This accident shows the sheer negligence of on part of the owners or managers of such rented rooms. “Later on when the owners and others visited the crash site, I overheard them saying that there was leakage and seepage of water from the flat above. A bathroom is located right above my room on the floor above and there was water seepage and leakage from there leading to the complete damage of the plaster of the concrete slab. This revelation completely shocked me as I realized that a major disaster had been averted. The concrete slab above is also damaged due to ongoing slow seepage of water from the leaking bathroom, rusting the iron rods and also the framework of the false ceiling. Luckily it was just the false ceiling that collapsed and not the concrete slab or parts of the concrete slab,” says Remedios.
“Owners of such premises who carry out structural changes to old buildings in a haphazard short-cut way without completely renovating and correcting all faults must be brought to book. It is surprising that the BMC and other authorities are not inspecting such old building which are being converted into home stays or guest houses and rented on yearly or monthly basis to bachelors or single persons who are staying in Mumbai for long periods of time. After the accident, i found out that there were at least two vacant rooms, but the caretaker lied to me saying no other room was available. This was clearly endangering the life of an individual and if this crash had to happen in the middle of the night while I was asleep, I would have been seriously injured. My laptop and camera have got damaged, and I am still taking stock of the damage to my other belongings. The owner has shifted me to another room for now and since he is a sweet elderly gentleman, I do not have the heart to file a police complaint, though I know very well that a criminal case is clearly made out, but the fact remains that owners of such apartments are putting lives of human beings to grave risk for financial gain all over Mumbai,” Flynn told IndiaScribes.com.
Explaining further he says, “I was saved in the nick of time by the Hand of God, but not all people may be so lucky. I want to address the larger issue here. Why does the BMC not carry out a comprehensive audit of all such rented guesthouses and home stays in Mumbai for such safety issues. A similar situation can be witnessed in all the home stays in Mumbai. Many home stays claim to supply drinking water from (Aquaguard-like) water filters which are not serviced or cleaned for years together. The operators take on long lease and then convert flats in old residential apartments into guest houses, which are rented out to single working individuals at a super premium. The issue here is: while the operators charge a super premium over the actual rent for the facilities they provide like TV, fridge, AC, etc., the buildings are in a dilapidated condition. The interiors look rosy as they are touched up and painted and showcased as home stays and widely advertised on portals like AirBnB, Booking.com, MakeMyTrip, GoIbibo etc., The truth is these rented apartments do not follow any safety standards or other norms for hotels and guesthouses as they claim to fall under the home stay category, which is a big bluff on the consumers. In addition, they provide commercial services charging commercial rates, but the rent they pay including electricity, cooking gas etc., are charged to them at residential rates. I wanted to bring this issue up on a common platform to address these safety and legal concerns (not all operators are ill-legit, about 70 per cent provide genuine services and facilities), but no one from the sector supported me,” lamented Flynn Remedios, adding that he is seeking an appointment with the Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and will make a representation to him on this issue in the near future.
Elaborating on the issue Flynn says, “My owner is a sweet elderly man. Yes there was some negligence on his part as he knew about the water seepage and leakage and I had informed him about the cracks and likely collapse 5 days ago. But it is the larger issue at stake here, which I want to highlight. There are some unscrupulous operators out to make a quick buck who are ruining the name of the hospitality industry in Mumbai, by not maintaining minimum safety standards and checks and the BMC authorities turning a blind eye to the booming low-end hospitality sector in the metros, under the guise of encouraging business.”