Six assistant lift inspectors, appointed last year, are sitting idle, despite the increasing number of complaints and accidents involving lifts and the lack of maintenance.
A few PWD officials had recently accused a few from the top brass to be hand-in-glove with private contractors. They do not want new recruits to inspect the lifts, an official said.
The matter came to light when Atul Nadkarni from Pune filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
State lift inspector NE Patil, whose office is in Andheri, responded, saying the department recruited six new assistant inspectors (lift) in April last year.
The pay scale ranges between Rs31,000 and Rs33,000. The six were appointed to inspect the lifts in Mumbai, Konkan, north Maharashtra, western Maharashtra, Marathwada, and Vidarbha.
Before the new appointments, there was just one lift inspector for the entire state besides six assistant inspectors.
Officials had pointed out it was impossible to physically check all lifts regularly due to shortage of manpower.
The lack of timely inspection by PWD led to an increase in number of unauthorised fly-by-night contractors. The lifts are installed according to various norms specified in the Bombay Lift Rule, 1958.
Mumbai has more than 70,000 lifts. There are more than 18,000 lifts in western Maharashtra, and 12,000 lifts in other parts of the state.
According to PWD rules, each assistant lift inspector is supposed to inspect at least 100 to 150 lifts a year.