Mumbai: Khar building officials didn't fix it despite knowing it was shaky

Updated: Oct 28, 2019, 07:34 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Municipal officials dig out suppressed building audit to prove office-bearers of Bhole Apartments failed to carry out repairs inspite of being aware of its deteriorated condition

The collapse killed 10-year-old Mahi Motwani. File pic
The collapse killed 10-year-old Mahi Motwani. File pic

The condition of Bhole Apartments in Khar, which partially collapsed last month killing a 10-year-old, was so bad that the structural audit report had recommended redevelopment in February 2018, as repairs were found to be 'highly uneconomical'. Officials, who got the report from society members, have sent it to the Khar police.

According to the report that was filed by B J Mehta consultants on February 21 last year, apart from large cracks in the internal and external plaster due to prolonged leakages and seepage through external walls and toilets, there was a lot of corrosion that had led to 'severe structural deterioration'. "The report stated that the building had 50-90 per cent probability of corrosion. Though not very old, structurally the building had as much corrosion as that of a dilapidated building. Major leakages had been detected in the toilets and kitchens which could have been the cause," said a civic official.

Prolonged leakages had seriously weakened Bhole Apartments
Prolonged leakages had seriously weakened Bhole Apartments

Even though the building was only 40 years old, the report had classified it under the C2A category which means that the residents would have to be evacuated since the building required major structural repairs. In fact, the damage was so extensive that the report had recommended re-development. "Repairs if carried out may be highly uneconomical and may serve very little purpose of long term durability," the report stated.

The report, however, had also stated that major structural repairs should be taken up immediately. "Any delay in implementing our suggestions may affect the condition of the building adversely and shall prove dangerous to human lives," it stated. They had recommended that the building be immediately propped and the affected areas be vacated before carrying out major structural repairs.

Bhole Apartments
Bhole Apartments

After a wing of the building partially collapsed and separated from the rest of the building, civic officials had said that the contractor may have damaged the stilts in the parking area while carrying out repair work. The structural consultant had earlier noted the damaged plaster and cracks in the pillars of the stilt areas in his report.

Civic officials from the H West ward stated that the committee members of the society had failed to carry out the recommended repairs. "The building was not well maintained and it was the society's responsibility to carry out the repairs immediately. But they neither submitted the report to the BMC nor sought permission for repairs. We have submitted the report to Khar police," said the civic official.

After the death of Mahi Motwani, the police arrested the 45-year-old contractor, Ranjeet Sawant, who is still in police custody. Gajanan Kabdule, senior police inspector of Khar police said that the investigation was delayed due to assembly elections but will resume this week. "We have asked for all relevant documents and are looking to fixing responsibility for the death of the girl. We are probing the society members' roles too," he said.

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