Structural audit ordered by Dy CM reveals Council Hall VIP gallery not safe

The primary observation of a group of engineers of the Public Works Department (PWD) who were engaged in conducting a structural safety audit of government buildings in the city from last week is that the VIP and journalists’ gallery at the Council Hall is not safe and that a non-destructive test will have to be done to check the strength of the construction.

The Council Hall, where the VIP and journalists’ gallery has been found to be unsafe in the primary observations made by a team of PWD engineers; the Aundh Chest Hospital, where the PWD found a cement substitute was used in the structure because of a cement shortage at the time of construction

After the Mantralaya inferno in Mumbai on June 21, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar during a visit to the city on June 26 directed that a structural, electrical and fire safety audit be done at 16 government buildings in the city that were more than 50 years old.

The primary structural safety audit is over and the report is likely to be submitted to Pawar on Friday, said PWD executive engineer Atul Chavan. Besides the Council Hall, which is also known as the Vidhan Bhavan in the city, structural issues were also found at the Aundh Chest Hospital.

The Aundh Chest Hospital

“We had deployed seven executive engineers along with 14 deputy executive engineers to conduct the audit and we have found out that apart from Vidhan Bhavan’s VIP and journalists’ gallery, structural problem is also exists at the Aundh Chest Hospital, where during its construction a cement substitute was used that has made the construction weak,” Chavan said.

Chavan said that at the time of construction of the Aundh Chest Hospital there was a shortage of cement in the city, because of which a cement substitute called sagola was used.

“This substitute made the construction weak, so a non-destructive test will also be done at the hospital along with the Vidhan Bhavan,” Chavan said. “In this test, the structure will be checked by hammering.” The 16 government buildings chosen for the structural safety audit included the Central Building, the office of the Commissioner of Police, Sassoon Hospital and District Court.

“The structural safety audit was done visually and necessary tests will be done on faulty structures,” PWD Superintendent Engineer (Pune district) DG Malekar. “Apart from Vidhan Bhavan and Aundh Chest Hospital, all other structures are in good condition.”

It is learnt that the electrical safety audit was also started by the Electrical Department of the PWD on 24 buildings in the city and issues have been found in the electrical circuits inside the Central Building.

Deputy Municipal Comm-issioner (Special) Pravin Ashtikar has appealed to all government buildings to conduct the fire safety audit and send the report to the chief fire officer by the end of the month.  

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