Despite its own engineers saying the P-North ward office needs repair, nothing is being done to ensure the safety of the nearly 250 staff members working there, except one
In a case of failing to practice what it preaches, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which is carrying out a structural audit across the city ahead of the monsoons and issuing notices to owners of various buildings to repair the structures, is putting the lives of its own employees at risk.
Red alert: Cracks on a beam and ceiling of the office and (right) repairs being carried out at the P-North ward assistant commissioner’s office. Pic/Ronak Savla
The ceilings, beams and columns of the civic body’s P-North ward office in Malad (West) have developed cracks and there have also been complaints of a slab collapsing. Its own engineers have said that the office needs repairs and they are being carried out, but only in the ward assistant commissioner’s office.
Shocked by this, ward committee chairman, Cyril D’souza — an Independent corporator — has written to the municipal commissioner and mayor, asking why funds have been sanctioned to repair only the assistant commissioner’s officer and not the entire building. The chairman has pointed out that the ground-plus-two building has almost 250 municipal employees working from 9 am to 5 pm or longer, and yet no repairs are being carried out to ensure their safety.
Cyril D’souza said, “There has been an issue with this ward office building for a long time but things are being done keeping only the assistant commissioner in mind, and the employees are not being taken care of. Hence, I have written to the municipal commissioner and mayor, asking them to conduct an inquiry and begin repairs of the whole building, and not just of the assistant commissioner’s office room, which he has also extended by taking in some of the assistant engineer’s area.”
Despite repeated calls and messages, Devendra Kumar Jain, assistant commissioner of P-North ward, was not available for comment.
The approximate number of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) employees that work out of the
P-North ward office
In September last year, when some of its own employees and their families had died in the five-storey building collapse in Dockyard Road, there was much talk of repairing and demolishing BMC properties on a priority basis if needed, which doesn’t seem to be happening.
The BMC is still in the process of appointing contractors for repairing various buildings in the city, including its own. There are about 500 such properties of various BMC departments awaiting repair.