THE BRIHANMUMBAI Municipal Corporation (BMC) will issue a showcause notice to the contractor who built the wall around the Malad reservoir at Pimpripada in Kurar village. The wall along the reservoir, built in 2017, collapsed on Monday night killing at least 26 people.
According to the officials, the wall is still under the Defect Liability Period (DLP), meaning the contractor is liable to initiate corrective measures in case of any structural defect.
An official from the BMC said construction of the wall began in 2015 and was completed in 2017. The wall is under a three-year DLP that will end in 2020 and was built through a contract given by the BMC, with a view to demarcate forest land from land leased to the municipality on which the reservoir stands.
“In the showcause notice, we will ask the contractor as to why action should not be taken against them for the wall collapse incident. The contractor is expected to give a reply in seven days. The wall is under the DLP, so prima facie, it is the contractor’s responsibility if there is any untoward incident,” said an official from the hydraulic engineering department, which operates the BMC’s waterworks infrastructure.
“A preliminary investigation into the incident suggests that the wall collapsed due to the water pressure created by accumulation of rainwater, following heavy rainfall. The unstable slope and loose soil on the hillock could have contributed to it,” said another official.
After CM Devendra Fadnavis ordered a high-level investigation into the wall collapse incident, the BMC initiated its probe on Wednesday. A meeting chaired by Additional Municipal Commissioner Praveen Darade and the hydraulic engineering department was held to decide the course of action. The municipality has recommended that any action against the contractor or officials will have to wait till the probe is completed.
“Any criminal action against contractor or officials will be taken only after the inquiry is over. The action will depend on the probe findings. As of now, nothing is clear, so any action at this stage will be unfair,” said a senior official from the BMC.
On Tuesday, Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Joshi had also said no action will be taken until the inquiry was completed.
“I have sought all the information from the local ward regarding the construction of the wall. It seems that the material used in the construction was substandard. The wall was constructed only one-and-a-half years back. It clearly shows there was a problem in the construction quality,” said Vinod Mishra, chairman of the P North ward committee.
Meanwhile, the municipality has decided to set up a committee of experts from IIT-Bombay and Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute to investigate the technical aspects of the mishap.
Darade told The Indian Express, “We will set up a committee to check all aspects of the incident. The quality of construction, design and cause of the collapse will be probed by this committee. Whether there was a fault on part of the contractor or whether it was because of heavy rain, all questions will be answered by the committee. A report will be submitted in 15 days,” Darade added.