Mumbai: Glass panel comes crashing down on corporator in BMC headquarters

Updated: 19 December, 2019 07:20 IST | Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

As it was toughened glass, it immediately broke into several pieces in the mishap; Priti Patankar and two others sustained minor injuries

The glass panel was part of partition dividing rooms; three people were injured in the incident
The glass panel was part of partition dividing rooms; three people were injured in the incident

The chairperson of the Works Committee (City) narrowly escaped serious injury on Wednesday, when the glass panel above her came crashing down, in the heritage structure of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). As it was toughened glass used in vehicles, it immediately broke into pieces and there was no major injury. Shiv Sena Corporator and chairperson of the committee, Priti Patankar, has blamed the incident as an administrative lapse by the civic staff.

In a knee-jerk reaction following the incident, the civic administration has decided to remove all the glasses fitted in the building's three floors.

Three people injured

The Works Committee's meeting started around 1.15 pm and while a discussion was going on, around 3.30 pm, the glass panel which was a partition to the next room, crashed. As the glasses that were fitted were toughened glasses and were near the roof of the structure, they came hard crashing down but as those were toughened glasses that are used in vehicles there was no major injury and it broke in to pieces. The officials suspect temperature variation as a probable reason for the breaking of the toughened glass. The room where the meeting was held is shut for most of the month and only opened for meetings and the AC is then switched on.

Priti Patankar, one of those injured, has called the incident an administrative lapse by the civic staffPriti Patankar, one of those injured, has called the incident an administrative lapse by the civic staff

More than 15 corporators along with various civic officials and staff were present when the incident occurred. Two other employees from the Municipal Secretary department suffered minor bruises on their head and feet after the glass pieces fell. Patankar also suffered bruises. Explaining the horrific incident, Patankar said, "I was sitting on my chair which was just below the glass panel, and around 3.30pm, I felt the glass pieces fall. Soon after, a huge piece of the glass came down. Many shards were stuck in my saree. I have got bruises on my back, feet and on my head. Fortunately I was leaning on the table and not resting my back on the chair when the incident happened, otherwise the glass might have fallen on my head."

Consultant, contractor quiet

Civic sources revealed that even the contractor and consultant that worked on the restoration of the building will be called in to find what might have gone wrong. The project heritage structure was restored just about two years ago and the work was done in phases. The restoration of the second floor on which the room where the incident took place is situated, was completed about four years back. Conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah was appointed project consultant for the restoration of BMC headquarters. The contractor for the same was M/s Skyway Infraprojects. Despite repeated attempts to contact them, both Lambah and Harshad Madhani of Skyway Infraprojects did not respond.

Who's to blame

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Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner who handles the Building Maintenance Department, said, "I have instructed the chief engineer to visit the site, assess the problem and submit a detailed report to me. The chief engineer will check if the contractor is at fault and whether the defect liability period still exists."

AG Kadam, chief engineer of the Building Maintenance Department, said, "Fortunately the glass was toughened. There was no major damage and nobody was seriously injured. But still, as a precautionary measure, we will remove all the glass portions that are placed in the heritage structure and get to the root cause of the problem. The report on the incident will be tabled before the AMC on Thursday."

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First Published: 19 December, 2019 07:10 IST

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