September 23, 2021 3:43:12 am
Two days after a major slab of the pre-Mughal historic Lehripura Gate in Vadodara came crashing, Mayor Keyur Rokadia visited the site along with officials of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ascertain the damage caused to the structure.
While the Leader of Opposition of the VMC Ami Ravat has demanded a vigilance inquiry in the matter, the VMC has said that the ASI did not issue a completion certificate to the civic body after restoring the structure at a cost of Rs 75 lakh.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Alpesh Majumdar, who is also the incharge Additional City Engineer for the Building Project department told The Indian Express that the primary examination of the damage to the structure appears to be due to a faulty beam joint.
Majumdar said, “The ASI will assess the overall damage because it had undertaken the restoration and repair of the structure in an understanding with the VMC after a part of the slab had collapsed in 2013. But from the primary examination, it appears that the joints of the beam were faulty and caused the slab to fall. This particular slab was constructed after 2018 and so the beams that appear disjointed also were new.”
Majumdar said that he had written to the ASI in 2018 asking for the repair work to be expedited as the roof was not ready even after five years of making the payment.
“In 2018, there was no damage to the structure but it was incomplete and we had reminded the ASI about it. The VMC had made payment for the restoration work back in 2013 itself and yet, the ASI had not completed the work. However, even today, we do do not have any completion certificate from the ASI in this case nor a break up of accounts of Rs 75 lakh given to the VMC, despite reminders sent in 2018,” he said.
According to the engineer, some parts of the then derelict structure fell in the year 2013-14, also posing danger to the movement of traffic through its arches.
“We had safeguarded the structure to avoid casualty during traffic movement and approached the ASI for repairs… It is to be believed that the ASI has not compeleted the restoration as we do not have any completion certificate or accounting of funds. But since the ASI officials have changed over the years, their department is also checking records to get clarity on the matter,” Majumdar said.
In a letter to the Mayor, Ravat has questioned the absence of a completion certificate and demanded a vigilance inquiry against the engineers, who “did not supervise” the work.
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