​Mazgaon building crash toll 61, BMC suspends 7-8 officials

Written By Unknown on Senin, 30 September 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Eighteen civic officials will face the BMC heat for being negligent and not taking timely action against illegal alterations in the ground floor decorator's establishment that, prima facie, led to the Mazgaon building crash on Friday.

Out of the 18 civic officials against whom a departmental inquiry has been initiated by the BMC, seven officials were suspended on Sunday. The final toll in the BMC's Babu Genu building collapse climbed to 61 on Sunday, with three people among the 30 injured being treated at JJ and Nair hospitals turning critical.

Admitting to the civic body's laxity and negligence in taking timely action in 2011 over the illegal alterations carried out by the decorator on the ground floor, who built an additional mezzanine floor that led to the collapse, civic chief Sitaram Kunte said that the suspended civic officials—mainly identified from the markets and planning and design (P&D) departments—will also come into the loop of police investigations for criminal negligence.

The three suspended civic officials from the P&D department are M N Patel (executive engineer), M K Redekar (assistant engineer) and S N Yele (assistant engineer); the four suspended officials from the markets department are N S Ghadge (assistant engineer), Rahul Jadhav (assistant engineer), Dr B C Chavan (deputy superintendent) and Jamal Kazi (inspector).

Further, a departmental inquiry will also be initiated against ten other civic officials—five from the P&D department: B K Sanglekar (retired deputy chief engineer), A D Kulkarni (retired deputy chief engineer), S Dande (executive engineer), Sandip Salunke (sub engineer) and Nasir Khan (sub engineer). The other four officials from the markets departments are R M Dange (assistant engineer), Kiran Kiran Badgujar (sub engineer), V R Solanki, A K Seth and Ibrahim Sheikh (chief inspectors). An inquiry will also be initiated against Chandrashekhar Chore, assistant commissioner (markets), and if he is found guilty, further action will be initiated against him. Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, told TOI that the BMC will impose penalties on all 18 officials, but the seven suspended will not be able to resume duty until the enquiries are completed.

"In our preliminary enquiries, we have identified the officials who were aware that crucial alterations were made in the ground-floor godown. They should have taken corrective steps. There has been laxity and negligence on part of these officials," said Kunte.

Asked if the designated officer (DO) of E ward in Byculla will also be held responsible, Kunte said, "Techincally, DOs are held accountable as they have to take timely action on illegal alterations. But in this case the P&D and markets department officials were aware of the alterations in 2011 and overlooked them. No action will be taken against the DO, as he was only appointed in April this year."

Besides the civic officials, corporators at the general body meeting on Saturday, had demanded suspension of a resident medical officer (RMO) from Nair hospital, after corporator Dhananjay Pisal produced a receipt stating that the RMO had demanded money for blood donation from a building collapse victim.

The 48-hour rescue operations, was the longest so far and went till 6.30am on Sunday. "593 trips were made by 24 dumpers, using six Poclain machines and 20 JCB machines. The solid waste management department deployed a robotic excavator to remove the debris," said Sanjog Kabare, assistant municipal commissioner, E ward.

Kunte said that the rescued victims will be given an alternate accommodation in a Ghatkopar tenement.

"The BMC is planning to give Rs 2 lakh to the injured victims and the state government will give Rs 1 lakh as compensation. The families of those who died will be compensated Rs 5 lakh and the next of kin will be given a job in the BMC," said Kunte.

All valuables of affected victims from the collapsed building were sent to the Sewri police station.

Incidentally, the same two-member technical committee that had given a clean chit to a showroom owner for allegedly carrying out illegal alterations in the basement of Altaf Mansion in Mahim that crashed on June 10, killing 10 people, has been appointed to inquire into the cause of the Mazgaon building collapse. "The technical committee will look into aspects like the steel and quality of cement used during building construction. We will see if the load-bearing capacity of the steel was good or not," said L S Vhatkar, director, engineering services.

Another committee has been formed under Ramesh Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner (Zone III), to conduct an administrative inquiry into the incident. A two-member team comprising additional municipal commissioners Mohan Adtani and Rajiv Jalota will also inquire into the cause of the collapse.

The five-storey building, owned by the BMC itself and located on Brahmadev Khot Marg near the Dockyard Road railway station, collapsed around 6am on Friday morning. It had received a notice and was declared as Class C-II dilapidated, in need of urgent repairs in November 2012.

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