30-yr-old buildings to undergo audits: CM

ST Correspondent
Thursday, 27 July 2017

"Our rescue team along with the fire brigade and NDRF jawans extricated 28 people from the debris out which 17 people have been declared dead while 11 injured have been admitted in the nearby Shantiniketan, and the Rajawadi hospitals," an official of the disaster management unit of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

Mumbai: The building collapse in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar area, in which 17 persons lost their lives, occurred due to the tampering of the beams and RCC columns of the building. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said in the assembly that prima-facie, it is a result of illegal tampering with beam and columns of the structure and the inquiry will be headed by a senior IAS officer. 

The photos and evidence made available by BMC engineers clearly show that the pillars of the building became weak due to the ongoing renovation of a nursing home located on its ground floor. “The government will help the residents to redevelop the building and also the family of the deceased will be compensated with Rs one lakh,” said Fadnavis. 

Fadnavis was replying to the discussion on the motion of adjournment moved by the opposition parties about the Ghatkopar building collapse incident in the Assembly and Council. 

After various demands from the members of the assembly, Fadnavis announced decisions to prevent further tragedies or such collapse due to human error. “All buildings which are more than 30 years old will have to undergo a structural audit and that buildings will be served notices for the same. The ward officers from the concerned area will have to monitor it,” the CM said. 

“Anyone, who tampered with columns or the beams of the building will be prosecuted under the charges of culpable homicide. This action will ensure that no one dares to tamper with the original structure of the building,” said Fadnavis. 

“In many cases, it is observed that the building didn’t get permissions in time for repair or reconstruction. Hence, the residents are also reluctant to vacate the house as they have no guarantee to the house in the same place in time. But from now onwards, all permissions will be given online. A certificate from a licenced architect or a structural consultant certifying that there is no damage to beams or columns of the building will be given online permission within 24 hours,” Fadnavis added. 

A complete list of buildings given the permission for repair works will also be made available online in Mumbai. Making entire process online will mean that officials responsible for giving certain permissions can be pinpointed and would not go scot free. “These responsible officers remain untouched as it becomes difficult to fix their responsibility from a legal point of view,” the CM said. All MLAs across the parties demanded strict action against civic officials who allowed the construction work in the building along with Shiv Sena leader Sunil Shitap, who is police custody for carrying out the work. 

The leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, targeted Sena which is ruling the BMC. “BMC has now become a private limited company. The leadership is patronising such Sunil Shitaps in every ward of the city and those in power are equally responsible,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition in Council Dhananjay Munde alleged that the BMC officials have prepared a rate card. According to the rate card, the ward officer and other officers are charging Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh as bribe.

Meanwhile, the court has extended Shitap’s police custody till August 2.

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