Friday's Vakola building collapse is the fourth such incident in the past nine months that have collectively claimed over 80 lives. But reforms planned by the BMC to ensure safety of people in dangerous and dilapidated structures are yet to materialize.
Following last year's Dockyard Road crash, which had killed 61 people, the civic body had planned to form a technical advisory committee under the chairmanship of a retired judge to hear grievances related to dangerous structures, and also carry out surveys if need be. Experts from VJTI, IIT-Bombay, MHADA and PWD were to be included in the committee.
"In many cases after a building is declared unsafe, residents continue to stay put. The technical committee was planned to resolve such disputes. But the proposal is stuck due to administrative delays. If the committee is formed, it can surely help avoid such incidents," said a senior official.
This apart, there is confusion regarding norms to be followed to survey dilapidated buildings. "The visual inspection method of the BMC has seen stiff opposition. While there have been talks of a two-layered survey, it is not yet clear that should be followed," the official added. The two-layer survey involves visual inspection as well as examination by experts.
The only measure the civic body has taken is to form a technical committee comprising its various engineering officials. It has so far heard 25 disputes.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders in the BMC have blamed civic chief Sitaram Kunte for the situation. "Kunte is not corrupt but what is the use if people are not getting benefitted. After the Dockyard Road crash, he should have set a deadline to introduce the reforms," said Sandeep Deshpande, MNS's group leader.
Despite repeated attempts, Kunte chose not to revert.