Lokayukta pulls up BMC for 'favouring' developer

The developer of Parekh Market Building near Opera House allegedly violated several fire safety normsThe developer of Parekh Market Building near Opera House allegedly violated several fire safety norms

BMC'S building proposal department has come under fire from the state lokayukta for “willingly” avoiding action on a south Mumbai building that flouted fire safety norms.

Lokayukta retired justice ML Tahaliyani has summoned the department's executive engineer today to seek his response in the matter.

RTI revelation
Lokayukta's action comes following a complaint filed by RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge against the violation of fire safety norms on floor 9 and 10 of Parekh Market Building near Opera House in Girgaum.

According to Ghadge, the developer had given an undertaking to the Mumbai Fire Brigade to create a wide entrance in the building so that rescue operations were not hampered in case of a fire.

After a probe last year, the fire brigade learnt that the entrance had not been widened. Also, safety norms had been violated on the floors. The fire brigade then recommended revoking the Occupancy Certificate (OC) of the two floors.

But, the department, in its report, stated that the since the fire brigade had initiated action under the Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2005, the question of revoking the OC did not arise.

Ghadge filed a complaint, alleging that the department was favouring the developers.

Ghadge told mid-day, "Who will take responsibility if there is a fire on the 10th floor? There is enough evidence of corruption, but the BMC is protecting its officials."

Not their job?
A department official said, "As the matter is before the lokayukta, we won't comment."

VP Chithore, chief engineer of DP department, said, "If there is any violation of fire safety norms, it isn't necessary that the building proposal department should take action."

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