Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s keen interest in the Somnath building collapse incident at Taljai hills, has prompted officials of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to prepare a detailed demolition drive presentation for his benefit. Chavan, who is also heading Urban Development Department, will be shown the presentation shortly at Mumbai or Pune.
The issue of demolition of illegal structures came to the fore after 11 persons died and 11 were injured in the building collapse at Taljai, which is co-owned by former Congress corporator Sanjay Nande.
The presentation was prepared by Vivek Kharwadkar, additional city engineer, Building and Construction Department, PMC. “The presentation will show a total of 844 locations where 6.38 lakh square feet were razed of illegal structures by the civic body in the past three months, including Taljai, Katraj, Kothrud, Paud Road, F C Road and some other parts of the city. We had made maximum demolitions with the available strength and equipment,” Kharwadkar said.
He added that the PMC had issued notices to a total 2,350 illegal structures in the city. The demolition drive will be intensified to raze the remaining 1,506 such structures after the Ganesha festival.
“We have prepared the presentation to show the CM all the details,” Kharwadkar said. Regarding charges that since Nande was a Congressman action against him was delayed, Kharwadkar, said, “We have issued him legal notice and had taken legal action by filing a case against him.
There is no question of any kind of political pressure in the case. The legal notices have a response time ranging from between 24 hours to 30 days. The legal notice itself makes an impact, which also worked on Nande, who may have other structures in the area. We are gathering information and there will be not delay in action if these structures are illegal.”
Kharwadkar also assured that a geo-structural audit will be conducted on all the existing 200 buildings on Taljai hills. He said, “The foundation of Nande’s building was weak and we will be doing a structural audit of the construction in the next 10 days.”
Ravindra Khairnar, deputy engineer, Building and Construction, PMC, said, “We are checking to see how many structures Nande owns and how many notices PMC had issued to him in the past. The latest notice was issued to Nande on September regarding Somnath building. It is difficult to trace who the owner, since sometimes such buildings are in some other person’s name. It is also difficult to establish any alleged involvement of any political leader or PMC-elected corporator in the ownership of such structures.”
No ties with Nande
Speaking about the Congress connection, Avinash Shinde, Congress Group Leader, PMC, said, “Nande was elected as an independent candidate and later joined Congress. Our party has no connection with him.”
Mayor Vaishali Bankar had called an all-party leaders meeting to decide on helping the victims. “My attempt failed as only Subhash Jagtap, PMC leader of house, was present for the meeting.”