Shitap's unauthorised alterations to the ground floor caused the collapse of Siddhi Sai building. File pic
It's official, Shiv Sena leader Sunil Shitap caused the collapse of the Siddhi Sai building in Ghatkopar, killing 17 and injuring 25 residents. A 32-page prepared by a civic inquiry panel states that it is beyond any doubt that the unauthorised construction work carried out by Shitap at the ground floor was the trigger for the collapse, hence he is solely responsible for the loss of the life and property in the tragedy. The report has also highlighted negligence by the local ward engineers and health officer, and recommended disciplinary action against them.
The report comes nearly a month after the four-storey building came crashing down on July 25. It clearly states that the building was not dilapidated. "The analysis of the structural consultant of Structwel and sequence of events in this case before collapse clearly indicates that Shitap is solely responsible for the collapse of this structure. He should therefore be prosecuted for this crime by the police and BMC," states the report by Vinod Chithore, director (Engineering services) and Chandrashekhar Chore, deputy municipal commissioner. In 2009, Shitap had amalgamated his two ground-floor flats and gave it on lease to a maternity home. The health officer of the local ward gave his nod even though Shitap did not have a completion certificate. This year, in July, Shitap wanted to open his own maternity clinic, so he began making alterations without permission. Once again, the sanitary inspector visited the site, but did not prepare a proper inspection note.
Officials on radar
An official from committee stated that, "Though the then health officer, current health officer and sanitary inspector Abdul Shakoor do not have direct roles, the committee recommends preliminary inquiry for issuance of licence without any verification of necessary documents."
The report has also found guilty executive engineer Sudhanshu Diwedi and other engineers from the building and factory (BF) department of N-ward (Ghatkopar) for negligence. The committee observed that after 2013, the officials failed to prepare an updated list of buildings that were older than 30 years. The preliminary probe will be conducted by the chief officer of the inquiry department.
Related photo story - Ghatkopar building collapse: 19 photos of the horrific tragedy
BMC chief says
Ajoy Mehta, municipal commissioner, said, "I have directed to take disciplinary action against the officials as per the recommendation of the committee. Also, the additional municipal commissioner of eastern suburbs (Vijay Singhal) has been instructed to implement all the suggestions and recommendations given in the report within six months."
>> Amendment in IPC to make tampering of structures a cognisable offence
>> Make society NOC compulsory even for tenantable repairs, like painting or changing of tiles
>> Separate cell to oversee work of dilapidated buildings
>> Software for tracking structural audit of buildings
>> Registration of interior designers, who are unorganised
>> Amendments to Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act
No. of months in which BMC will implement panel's recommendations
Death toll of the building collapse
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