Dongri building collapse: BMC at fault, finds preliminary police report
Preliminary police investigations point to civic body's blunder as documents seem to state it was an illegal structure that the civic body failed to demolish
Days after the Kesarbai building in Dongri collapsed leaving 13 dead and 10 others injured, the Dongri police have begun an investigation into the incident and have issued notices to the trustees of the society, the BMC and MHADA. Based on their preliminary findings, the police say that it is likely that BMC will be held responsible for the deaths since the structure that collapsed was possibly illegal.
Senior inspector of Dongri police station Sandeep Bhagdikar said that while notices were sent to BMC and MHADA on July 17, summons were issued to the trustees of the Bai Hirbai Rahimbhai Aloo Paroo Trust on Thursday. "We have registered 13 accidental death reports after the collapse and are recording the statements of the parties concerned," said Bhagdikar.
The NDRF teams had a tough time rescuing survivors from the debris of the building that collapsed on Tuesday. File pics
Another police official from Dongri police station said that based on the documents submitted by the trust, the Kesarbai 'C' building was constructed in 1934 while the four-storeyed structure that collapsed on July 16 was constructed in 1991. "In 1994, MHADA had written to the BMC to inform them about unauthorised construction being carried out next to the older building. The matter had even gone to the court. We will verify this once we have all the documents," said the official.
He, however, added that the building which collapsed was possibly illegal. "This makes it the BMC's responsibility to have evacuated the tenants and demolished it. They seem to be at fault here," he said. The officer added that they will be able to draw a concrete conclusion once they have the responses from all parties. "We have sent a questionnaire to both BMC and MHADA regarding the legal status of the building and action taken," he said.
'Building was illegal'
Both MHADA and BMC are expected to submit their response later this week. On Thursday, civic chief Praveen Pardeshi suspended the assistant municipal commissioner of B ward Vivek Rahi over various instances of illegal construction in the area. The charge of the ward has now been given to Vinayak Vispute, assistant municipal commissioner of C ward. He stated that the BMC's response will be submitted on Saturday.
Another official from B ward said that since the structure was a cessed building, an authentic report can only be given by MHADA. "After the collapse, the Mumbai Building Repair and Reconstruction Board had given BMC a report stating that the building was illegal. Based on the documents in the ward, we can only tell that the building was assessed in 1993. There are no plans available and it is likely that the building was illegal," said the official. He added that they will consult the Building Proposals department to ascertain whether any approvals were taken for the building.
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