The joint municipal commissioner (security) of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) — S S Shinde — received a leeter from the Practising Engineers Architects and Town Planners Association (PEATA), India, stressing on “criminal incidents” that are allegedly taking place at the Building Proposals Department of the civic body in Bandra.
The letter, accessed by Newsline, was sent in the last week of September. It highlights a recent incident of September 22 when a group of unknown people abused a civic employee after he refused to share contact details of the architects and builders. “When the official refused to budge to the pressure of these people, they pushed him against an aluminium partition in the cabin,” the letter said.
“These people enter the offices, disguised as Right to Information (RTI) activists and then force engineers to give contact details of the builders, architects and larger project developers to blackmail them and extort money. This has been a common practice for four to five years now. It is highly condemnable that the BMC offices are used as a platform while the employees are constantly threatened. “These people also use abusive language in front of all the civic employees,” said Shirish Sukhatme, president, PEATA.
Through the letter, the Association has now demanded a safe working atmosphere across all offices of the civic body. They have also requested the administration to initiate an inquiry into the incident and take immediate action against people who entered the official’s cabin and abused him. The letter also points out the lacunae in the security system of the civic body that leads to to such incidents.
“We recently inspected the Bandra office where the incident has occurred. There is a single entrance to the building and we will enhance security at the main entrance to avoid such incidents in future.
Apart from this, we are also asking the Building Proposals department to design a protocol for themselves, wherein they list people who should not be allowed inside their departments. We have assured them that nobody is allowed in any of the civic offices without an identity card,” said Shinde.