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HC directs structural audit of Prince Aly Khan Hospital by experts to ascertain if building dilapidated

The management told the court that the civic body had reserved the said land for a school. The employees raised a concern that if the hospital is demolished, it could not be rebuilt due to a land reservation issue.

The BMC, in its September 30 affidavit, said that on visual inspection, it was not in a position to ascertain whether the building was in a dilapidated condition.

The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered a structural audit report of Prince Aly Khan Hospital, Mazgaon, from experts from IIT-Bombay or Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) to ascertain whether the structure is in a dilapidated condition and needs to be demolished.

A division bench of Justice Ramesh D Dhanuka and Justice Kamal R Khata was hearing a plea by the hospital management seeking directions for demolition of the over 70-year-old hospital structure, stating that the report by the BMC was not specific as to whether it is in a dilapidated state or not.

The management told the court that the civic body had reserved the said land for a school. The employees raised a concern that if the hospital is demolished, it could not be rebuilt due to a land reservation issue.

The bench was told that the hospital had conducted an independent structural audit through S R Mahimtura Structural Consulting Engineer which found the building in a dilapidated condition. Last month, the hospital had discharged all its patients and decided to shut its in-patient admissions and surgeries after an independent structural audit found that the main building was unsafe for occupancy.

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Senior advocate Rafique Dada for the hospital management submitted that as some of the stakeholders had opposed the move and a few employees were admitting patients causing danger to the lives of patients as well as staff members, it had moved the HC on August 26 with a plea. It sought direction to BMC to take appropriate steps on the Structural Audit Report of August 9 to prevent any mishap or loss of lives and for other reliefs.

On September 12, the court had directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to verify the correctness of independent structural audit by the petitioners and to certify whether the hospital building falls in C-1 (dangerous, dilapidated and needing demolition) category or not. It had directed that petitioners or any member of staff should not admit patients in the hospital building till BMC submits its report.

The BMC, in its September 30 affidavit, said that on visual inspection, it was not in a position to ascertain whether the building was in a dilapidated condition.
Dada submitted that BMC report was not conclusive and the concern of management was that despite shutdown being ordered, the staff continued to take diagnostic tests. In the event of any untoward incident occurring due to delay in demolishing the building, the hospital management should not be responsible, he added.

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The employees’ union also sought to intervene and be heard in the plea stating that due to BMC reservation for the land, their future was in jeopardy and therefore, their rights and employment should be protected in case demolition order was to be passed.

After perusing submissions, the bench said it was not getting into the issues raised by employees and BMC reservation of the plot and suggested that either IIT-B or VJTI should be asked to conduct structural audit to ascertain whether building is dilapidated. The HC will hear the plea next on November 10.

First published on: 03-10-2022 at 11:58:16 pm
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