Official noose tightens around Vij

For all these years,industrialist Shital Vij has been successful in avoiding official scrutiny of his business empire.

Written by Amrita Chaudhry | Jalandhar | Published: April 20, 2012 3:29 am

For all these years,industrialist Shital Vij has been successful in avoiding official scrutiny of his business empire. However,the collapse of Shital Fibers late Sunday evening,has opened a can of worms pointing towards a nexus between government officials and industrialists.

“This man has been a terror for all departments. These 8 to 12 units were like his kingdom where no one could enter without permission. But now,we have a chance to fix things that have been going wrong for so many years,” said an official.

The departments that are under direct scrutiny post this disaster included Punjab State Power Corporation Limited,Factories and Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation. For setting up any unit,the first task the owner has to do is to apply for a power connection and ensure that the unit complies with all safety norms. It also has to be ensured that the unit owner has a on-site and off-site plan in case of emergencies.

The PSIEC is entrusted with the responsibility to check whether the building coming up is as per norms. Claiming that buildings in the Focal Point area cannot be higher than 38 m,SDE (PSIEC) Gurmeet Singh said: “All the buildings owned by Shital Vij are more than 40 to 42 feet high.”

Moreover,multiple floors are not allowed in a factory and the roof should not be made of lintel. There must also be vacant area around the unit — none of these norms were followed by Vij. The question that how did Vij manage to secure so many electricity connections with such violations,could land the power board and its officials in soup.

In another blatant violation,at least two survivors who have been fished out of the debris are minors. The labour department had turned a blind eye to this.

Deputy Director (Factories) Pamal Singh,however,defended his department by saying: “There are just six deputy directors in the entire state. We cannot go around checking each and every department. When some complaint comes to us,we do follow it up.”

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