Mumbai: No takers for civic body's 'jinxed' B-ward posting
Over a month on, it gets two beat officers to act against illegal structures; it is said no civic employee wants to be posted there because of the irregularities that cannot be acted against
After more than a month, two beat officers have been posted in B ward, to act against illegal buildings. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner had ordered immediate action against unauthorised structures in Dongri and Bhendi Bazar in the ward, after the collapse of Kesarbai building on July 16 and the death of 14 people. But as all three beat officers posted there had been transferred within a week of the incident, no action was taken.
Ward and panic
Some wards are considered a nightmare by BMC officers and workers. B ward tops the list. With 1.30 lakh people staying in just 2.65 sq km area, illegal activities here are on the high. Unauthorised structures and illegal parking are regular features, they say. Many attempts have been made in the past to act against the irregularities.
In September 2017, 33 people died when Husaini building collapsed in Bhendi Bazar. Though the people accused BMC officials of corruption, the reality is that civic officers don't want to be posted in the ward. If they are, they try to get a transfer as soon as possible. The same happened just before the collapse of the building last month. There are posts for three beat officers in B ward related to action against unauthorised structures.
Two of these officers, Bhushan Choudhari, junior engineer (maintenance) and Pramodkumar Surve, junior engineer (building and factory) got transferred with effect from July 16, the day Kesarbai building fell. Ashish Mundada, junior engineer (Building and Factory), was transferred to P south ward on July 28. These beat officers were responsible for inspecting the structures, identifying the illegal part, issuing notices, following up with legal action etc. B ward assistant commissioner Vivek Rahi was suspended after the Kesarbai building collapse.
'No one wants to join'
"The officers immediately joined duty after they got transferred. Though the transfers were regular and didn't have to do with the collapse, no other officer wants to join duty on the vacant posts, fearing the circumstances," said an officer from the BMC. BMC had identified 86 illegal structures in B ward where action was pending due to lack of beat officers. Now two beat officers have joined duty and the action will start again soon.
"No one wants to be posted in B and L wards. The wards don't even have assistant commissioners for the stipulated period due to the situation, which can't be handled on the level of junior officers. It has to be taken up at a higher level at the BMC or the High Court can do something in the matter," said Sainath Rajadhyaksha, executive president of the Municipal Engineers' Union.
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