The BMC is considering reinstating the eight civic officials who were suspended by the administration soon after the Dockyard Road building collapse on September 27,in which 61 persons were killed.
The move comes amid growing protests by the BMC Engineers Union,which has been demanding the release of 10 civic officials who have been arrested by the Mumbai Police in connection with the case. The BMC engineers made a representation and I heard them. We have not discussed whether the arrested officials will get bail,but we are considering reinstating the suspended officials. No decision has been taken yet, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte told Newsline.
Two days after the building collapse,the administration initiated an inquiry against 18 officials from the Planning & Design (P&D) department and the Markets department. These include the eight suspended and the 10 arrested officials. The corporation has been probing the culpability and criminal intent of these employees in connection with the collapse.
Sainath Rajadhyaksha,general secretary of the BMC Engineers Union,said,Our demands have been threefold. The first is to withdraw the suspension of the engineers as they have been suspended without an inquiry. Second,no further suspensions should take place without a properly completed investigation and thirdly,there should be no manhandling of the suspended engineers. He alleged that the engineers were suspended to cover up the faults of officials senior to them.
Sukhdev Kashid,secretary,BMC Engineers Union,said,The municipal commissioner has assured us that he will withdraw the suspension after reviewing the interim report. We are not criminals,we are engineers. There are around 19,000 old buildings in the city,of which,6,000 are in dilapidated condition. How can the state government target the engineers when no money is being put to renovate them?
The union threatened that if the arrested civic employees were not bailed out by the corporation by November 16,there would be protests next week as well.