Why is Maharashtra government hiding Mumbra building collapse report?
It’s been exactly a year since the Lucky compound building in Mumbra fell like a house of cards, killing 74 people, but Mantralaya is no hurry as far as the probe into the illegally built structure is concerned.
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Collapse site: Civic officials survey Lucky Compound at Shilphata, Mumbra, two months after it caved in. File pic
The Congress-led state government has not yet made public the report submitted almost two months ago by the one-member enquiry committee appointed to look into the disaster. The report was submitted by additional chief secretary (revenue), Swadheen Kshatriya, in the first week of Februar, and is said to be explosive due to its findings, which expose the blatant tolerance of, and even consent to illegal constructions.
At a time when political parties are busy wooing voters for the Lok Sabha elections, the report can mar their chances, and its fate would be determined only after the voting day on April 24, sources clued in on the issue said.
“The state is deliberately avoiding making the report public as it may have serious repercussions over the ongoing election campaigning,” claim sources.
Then and now: Debris is still piled high at the spot, a year after the building collapsed. Pics/Sameer Markande
Ever since the tragedy, the political class has been on the defensive, unwilling to initiate action against unauthorised buildings, which can endanger the lives of their occupants.
“The state could find itself in a quandary, as an NCP corporator was among the 15 persons arrested by the police for their alleged link to the building. And it’s a known fact that all party members from civic bodies take a lenient view of illegal construction,” an official who deals with the civic administration said.
The committee was asked to determine the ownership of the plot, look into the permissions given for its construction and the role of the Thane Municipal Corporation, and to suggest ways to avoid registration of such buildings and supply of water and power to them.
Asked about the report, Kshatriya declined comment on the matter. Despite several attempts to contact Principal Secretary Shrikant Singh of the urban development department, who is in charge of the administration of municipal corporations in the state, he was unavailable for comment.
74: Number of people who died when an illegal building collapsed in Lucky Compound in Mumbra one year ago; 18 of them were children