Mahim building collapse: BMC suspends 3 engineers for negligence

A fortnight after Altaf Mansion, a building in Mumbai’s Mahim suburb, caved in killing 10 people, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has suspended 3 engineers of the building and factory department of G-north ward.

The engineers had allegedly not responded to a complaint registered by lawyer Rizwan Merchant, one of the residents of Altaf mansion, in 2008 about the alterations that had been made in the building.

Assistant engineer Chandrakant Shende, Sub engineer Digambar M Satam and Junior engineer Pravin Rane all are from building and factory department has been suspended for negligence and not timely acted upon the complaint.

Altaf Mansion
The site of the Altaf Mansion that collapsed on June 10. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Despite Merchant’s claim that he has made several complaints to the BMC, the civic body in its press release on June 13 had claimed that it had received no complaints from residents about illegal activities leading to structural changes on the building’s premises, and hence had not taken any action.

Later, Merchant had called press conference and said that several complaints were made to the BMC regarding structural changes in the basement of the building till last year, but no action was taken. Merchant had said that he lodged his first complaint on November 10, 2008 about an illegal hoarding atop the building.

The Municipal Commissioner had then ordered an inquiry into the matter and found that the ward official hadn’t acted upon the complaint. The civic chief has ordered an inquiry of the then assistant municipal commissioner Narayan Pai and then executive engineer Chitore. Pai has since retired.

“The action on both seniors will depend upon the level of negligence in this issue,” said Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner. He also added that the BMC can conduct an inquiry within four years of the retirement and action can be taken.

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