Updated: September 12, 2020 9:56:14 am
The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to file an affidavit stating the reasons and details of frequent collapse of retaining walls by various developers, causing injuries and fatalities of construction workers and other persons in the neighbourhood, in the last three years. The court also asked the civic body to explain whether it has taken steps to ensure already-constructed walls were built as per safety standards.
A division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice R I Chagla had, on September 8, passed directions while hearing through videoconference three pleas filed by Alcon Group, a real estate firm, challenging the stop-work notices issued by the PMC following the Kondhwa wall collapse in June last year.
On June 29, the 60-feet-high wall of a residential complex in Kondhwa had collapsed on some tin sheds, killing 17 labourers, including children, who were working on an adjacent construction site and living there temporarily.
The court noted that writ pleas are repeatedly filed by different developers before it, pointing out that since the retaining walls were constructed by them for a particular project, wherein the incident took place, the PMC had issued stop-work notices to their other projects and the same was arbitrary and illegal.
The bench led by Justice Kathawalla observed, “We fail to understand as to why and how the retaining walls constructed by different developers repeatedly collapse, resulting in several casualties and injury to the workers.”
In light of this, the court directed advocate Abhijit Kulkarni of PMC to file an affidavit stating various details, including the number of retaining walls that have collapsed in the last three years during ongoing projects in Pune, and the number of persons who got injured or died due to such wall collapses.
The court also asked the PMC to give reasons as to why it is permitting developers to proceed with their projects without examining and approving the structural stability of retaining walls and ensuring that the same are in conformity with the accepted safety standards.
The HC also asked PMC to inform it if it has taken steps to ensure that already-constructed retaining walls are in conformity with safety standards and shall in no manner jeopardise the life or safety of workers on the site, and of persons from the neighbourhood.
Seeking a detailed affidavit in reply from PMC, the court posted the matter for further hearing to September 22.
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