'3 slabs in 8 days might have triggered mishap'

Sep 25, 2012, 07:50 IST | Vivek Sabnis

It appears that those behind constructing Somnath building, which collapsed yesterday afternoon at 2 pm, were aware that the Pune Municipal Corportion (PMC) would not have initiated action against the structure until the ongoing Ganapati festival was over.

Officials from the PMC’s Building and Construction Department said the builder violated basic norms while constructing the parking plus three-storeyed building and erected three slabs in just eight days, which they suspect as the reason behind the collapse. 

Notice on Sept 1
The PMC had issued notices on September 1, to former Congress corporators Sanjay Nande and Lahu Chavan for being the owners of the property, asking them to stop work at once. Later, Nande disowned the responsibility of being the owner of the building.

“Construction norms were violated by erecting three slabs in just eight days. The PMC was planning to take action against the structure after Ganeshotsav,” an official from the department said.

Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak said the pace at which the building was being constructed was too fast and the PMC had issued Nande and Chavan a legal notice under Section 478 (1) of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Act of 1949.

As per the notice: the structure was illegal, and Nande and Chavan were asked to stop the construction work with immediate effect.

Waiting for police
Pathak said due to the ongoing Ganapati festival there was scarcity of police personnel, which affected the drive, and therefore a decision was taken to raze the building after the festival.

“The PMC has already initiated a demolition drive against illegal constructions in the area, which has been on for the last six months. We had issued similar notices to all those who were constructing illegal structures without seeking any consent from the civic body. Though the notice was served to Nande and Sawant as the owners of the building; Nande’s ownership is yet to be established,” Addition Municipal Commissioner (Building and Construction) Vivek Kharwadkar said. “We had issued orders to stop construction work immediately, as the builder had violated the basic norms of constructing the building step-by-step. In addition, the given .33 FSI was also misused.”

Forensic analysis
Junior Engineer from Building and Construction Department Vasudev Kurbet said a proper investigation will be conducted into the case and samples of the slabs will be sent to a forensic lab for quality analysis.

“So far, we had issued notices of over 50 such illegal structures at Taljai, Dhankawadi and Ambegaon,” Kurbet said. In the last three months, the PMC has razed illegal structures on 6.38 lakh square feet of area. 

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