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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Mumbai: Hospital where fire killed 9 was built without following rules, BMC papers show

While Dreams Mall had several illegalities, a provisional occupation certificate was granted to Sunrise Hospital, located in the mall, in May last year, citing COVID-19 as 'exceptional circumstances'.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
April 1, 2021 12:46:46 am
Mumbai: BMC asks all hospitals, Covid facilities to conduct fire auditSunrise Hospital, 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 (Express Photo)

Sunrise Hospital was constructed illegally without the mandatory commencement certificate (CC), Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) documents show.

A fire at the hospital, located on the third floor of Dreams Mall, Bhandup West, killed nine patients last week.

During the construction of the hospital and after completion of work, the BMC had sent several letters to Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) and Privilege Healthcare Services Private Limited, asking them to apply for regularisation of the unauthorised work. The Dreams Mall was built by HDIL promoter Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan.

According to BMC documents, on July 13, 2009, a CC was granted for the three-storey Dreams Mall, with office and commercial use. On March 3, 2011, an amendment in the original plan — to change the third floor from commercial office space to maternity home and general hospital — was approved by the then municipal commissioner after HDIL’s application. Subsequently, construction of the hospital was completed in January 2014.

While Dreams Mall had several illegalities, a provisional occupation certificate (OC) was granted to Sunrise Hospital by delinking all the issues in May 2020, citing COVID-19 as ‘exceptional circumstances’ by then municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi.

“The work of the hospital portion is carried out without endorsement of C.C. So this u/a (Unauthorized) work needs to be regularized by consuming any additional FSI (Floor Space Index) if any, by duly obtaining permission for the same and by charging penalty towards regularization,” reads one of the conditions of the provisional OC granted to the hospital. The civic body had asked Dr Nikita Trehan of Sunrise Hospital, daughter of Rakesh Wadhawan, to comply with the conditions within a stipulated time.

A senior official from the BMC said, “The plan for the hospital was approved but no commencement certificate was issued. They had removed the escalator from the building, which was part of the original plan and constructed a lift and staircase for the hospital. This is also unauthorized. This is a very serious violation.”

It was necessary to have a CC for the hospital portion as there was a change in the original plan, civic officials said. According to the officials, as per the Development Control Regulations (DCR) of the BMC, no construction or alteration in any building can be initiated without first obtaining a separate development permission and a commencement certificate.

As per the procedure, a detailed plan of the proposed construction should be submitted before the BMC’s building proposal department. The construction can begin only once it is approved.

“After the construction work is completed, BMC officials visit the site and check if it is as per the approved plans. If everything is found okay, the final step, the OC, is issued,” said an engineer from the Development Plan department.

BMC documents show that the construction of the hospital violated the DCR too. “As per the DCR, the minimum height for a hospital building should be 3.60 meters, but Sunrise hospital was 3 meters. At some places, it was 2.70 meters,” said an official from the BMC.

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