If this allegation holds any truth, then the collapse of the ill-fated Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)-owned building at Mazgaon could have been averted.
The ground plus four-storey building had collapsed on Friday morning killing 61 and injuring 31 others. A Shiv Sena leader alleged that the corporation slept on a proposal to redevelop the structure. But it allotted funds for its repairs, which he claims, were never utilised. The proposal pertaining to the redevelopment of the structure, which locals said had developed cracks, was moved in 2006. The proposal was moved when the state government approved the guidelines on redevelopment of municipal markets. There are a total 90 civic markets in the city.
“After the state government approved the guidelines, proposals relating to the redevelopment of 62 markets, including the crashed building, were pending before the BMC. However, the civic body slept on it. Instead, in the same year, it allotted funds to repair the building,” said Yashwant Jadhav, former Sena corporator.
Jadhav claimed the repair works were done only on paper.
“The civic administration did not react even after sending letters time and again,” he said. A senior civic official who did not wish to be named refuted the claim.
In 2005-06, the civic body made a budgetary provision of Rs20 lakh for repair works. In the ensuing financial year, another Rs13.50 lakh was allotted. According to Jadhav, in a reply to his communication it was mentioned that repair works were conducted through a civil works contractor, KC Corporation. But no work was carried out in reality, he alleged.
What could possibly substantiate Jadhav’s claim is that the corporation allotted Rs1.25 crore in the budget this year for the building’s repair works. Despite repairs in 2006-07, the building still was in a poor shape.