Six months after the Dockyard building collapse of September 27, 2013, in which 61 persons were killed and 32 were injured, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to fix responsibility and take action against any of its officials.
After recording the statements of 18 civic employees over four months, the civic administration now says it is waiting for the findings of its technical committee before it can begin proceedings against any officer. BMC’s bureaucratic delays, lasting over three years, in executing repairs to the Babu Genu Markets building in Dockyard Road have been largely attributed as the main cause for the collapse.
Additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota, in-charge of the internal administrative inquiry, said, “Once we have the technical committee report, we will see if it is necessary to record statements from other employees. Otherwise, based on the statements that have been recorded, we will proceed with action.”
A day after the tragic collapse, the BMC suspended 18 officials belonging to the civic Planning & Design (P&D) department and markets department including the assistant municipal commissioner Chandrasekhar Chore, in-charge of the estates and markets departments. Under fire for gross negligence, the corporation said it was probing the ‘culpability’ and ‘criminal intent’ of these employees in connection with the collapse. Later, 10 civic officials were arrested.
However, three months later, as protests from the municipal engineers association grew, the corporation softened its stand and reinstated eight suspended officers. Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte at that time said strict action would be taken after the inquiry narrowed down on the main culprits.
Director of engineering services and projects, L S Vhatkar, who is part of the technical committee, said the report would be submitted to the corporation in the next few days.
“We are about to submit the report to the municipal commissioner. Only some basic printing and xeroxing work remains for which we had to designate a special officer as these are classified documents. We had submitted our interim report some months ago, after which we were asked to get the remarks of agencies such as the Slum Rehabillitation Authority for buildings constructed in the area, the MMRDA for construction of the Eastern Freeway project, which is near the collapsed structure and other departments of the BMC. Following up with these departments delayed the report,” Vhatkar said.