With two wall collapse incidents in its jurisdiction within four days, which has led to the death of 21 people, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has come under fire. The PMC, however, is trying to pass the buck over the wall collapse that took place in Ambegaon on Monday night, claiming that retaining wall of an educational institute, which came crashing down on the makeshift huts of labourers at an adjacent site, was constructed before the area became part of civic jurisdiction. Six people were killed in the incident.
“Ambegaon Budruk area is among the 11 villages that were merged in civic limits last year. The wall of the educational institute was constructed when the area was under the purview of the gram panchayat, while the construction of the building, where the labourers were working, was started before the area became part of PMC,” said Vipin Sharma, additional municipal commissioner.
District Collector Naval Kishor Ram said the PMC has started a survey of all construction sites to identify the labour camps that are unsafe. The PMC has surveyed 287 construction sites so far and identified 22 ‘unsafe’ labour camps, and directed real estate developers to relocate them. “… The Ambegaon site was, unfortunately, not assessed as the PMC didn’t give permission for it. The investigation into the Kondhwa wall collapse is going on… we will also start an inquiry into the Ambegaon incident…,” said Ram, adding that action will be taken against the agent who recruited labourers for work on the site.
The district administration will provide all necessary help to the family of the deceased, said the collector. “We will have to verify the legality of the building that was under construction in Ambegaon, where the labourers were working. There are a lot of illegal constructions in the newly-included 11 villages in PMC limits,” said a civic officer.
The PMC needs to act without any delays, said Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak. “This is the second unfortunate incident in PMC limits in the last four days. The civic administration has been asked to take serious action to avoid such incidents. There are dilapidated buildings in the central part of city and people should be shifted to safer locations…,” she said.
The mayor appealed to local residents to inform the PMC if they noticed any dangerous walls or structures in their areas. She also promised action against those whose negligence had led to the collapse incidents. “I assure that no one would be spared… the builders, as well as the civic staff who didn’t perform their duties, will face action,” said Tilak.