With the issuance of the government order mandating the task of probing the fatal building collapse in Mumbra in Thane, the much-awaited inquiry into the disaster is expected to begin soon. Additional chief secretary of the revenue department, Swadhin Kshatriya, has been asked to complete the probe within three months.
The government order, dated April 26, for a one-man committee was issued on Monday, three weeks after the tragedy that killed 74 people on April 4. The probe is likely to begin after May 2, government sources said. Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan made an announcement of the probe on April 5 while replying to a debate question in the state legislature.
Kshatriya has been asked to probe seven factors, and furnish recommendations to avoid such incidents in future. The probe is to focus on establishing the ownership of the land on which the Lucky Compound buildings stand whether it belongs to the local municipal body, government, forest or private. The order mandates finding out whether the construction was legal or illegal and which official or employee should be held responsible for the collapse. It also asks for conducting an inquiry into the water and electricity supply to the ill-fated structure, so responsibility can be fixed on officials.
The probe will look into whether the flats in the building were registered as per the government rules, and whether any complaint was received against the building by the Thane Municipal Corporation, the forest department or the police. Lastly, it will verify whether appropriate action was taken by the department concerned to investigate who was involved in the building’s construction.
Thane Municipal Corporation and other offices of the state government have been asked to cooperate with the probe committee, besides making available to it all the necessary documents. Significantly, the mandate given to the committee is more or less similar to the ongoing probe being conducted by the Crime Branch of the Thane Police. Meanwhile, the ongoing action against illegally and dangerously erected buildings in Thane and Mumbra has lost pace after local politicians and NCP chief Sharad Pawar raised concerns over asking residents to shift without providing them alternative accommodation.