April 1, 2021 3:36:41 am
Cutting across party lines, corporators on Wednesday demanded action against former municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi for granting provisional occupation certificate (OC) to Sunrise Hospital, which was running a Covid-19 centre on the third floor of Dreams Mall at Bhandup West that caught fire last week, killing nine Covid-19 patients.
During the BMC Standing Committee meeting, corporators alleged that Pardeshi ignored all irregularities related to the mall and gave permission to the hospital to run a Covid-19 centre.
Leader of Opposition and Congress’ Ravi Raja demanded the formation of a committee under a retired Bombay High Court judge to probe the entire episode. “This is a very serious matter. How was permission granted despite several irregularities? A case under IPC Section 304 should be registered against the officers who gave permission to the hospital. Former municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi’s role should also be probed,” he added.
Samajwadi Party’s Rais Shaikh said that all corporators should meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and urge him to order an inquiry against Pardeshi. “Pardeshi ordered to de-link all issues related to the mall from the hospital. This was done in the name of Covid-19. Today, Pardeshi is not with BMC but he should be booked for this negligence. I demand that Pardeshi’s entire tenure as municipal commissioner be probed,” he added.
Shaikh alleged that current Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal is also responsible for the incident. “In August 2020, BMC officials had informed the municipal commissioner that the OC granted to the hospital be reviewed after they found that Dr Nikita Trehan of Sunrise hospital is the daughter of HDIL’s Rakesh Wadhawan and is also a shareholder in it. However, Chahal did not take any action. He should answer why no action was taken,” Shaikh said.
BJP’s Prabhakar Shinde added, “Our local corporator had written several letters to the BMC but no action was taken against the hospital.” When contacted, Pardeshi said, “I have given permission for grant of provisional OC taking note of the pandemic and the requirement of beds. The hospital did not start functioning during my tenure. It was made operational after I left office.”
“I have clearly put certain conditions in the OC that the hospital had to fulfill before it started operations… Following this, BMC’s building proposal department had issued a letter to review the decision (granting provisional OC last May),” he added.
Chahal, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue.Meanwhile, Shiv Sena’s Vishakha Raut questioned Deputy Municipal Commissioner P S Rahangdale’s appointment to head the inquiry into the incident. “When the fire NOC was given (by the Mumbai Fire Brigade), Rahangdale was the chief fire officer.
Now, BMC has tasked him to conduct the inquiry. Also, the fire brigade is going through infighting, due to which officials are not focussing on fire compliance,” added Raut.
Following this, BMC Standing Committee Chairman Yashwant Jadhav directed the civic administration to initiate action against officers responsible for the fire at the mall.
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