Saturday, 23 April 2016

BMC action against illegal bldg cosmetic

Civic body again refrains from demolishing Hasan House

Once again, civic officials from B ward have taken cosmetic action against an illegal building with the address 111, Zakaria Masjid Street, also called Hasan House. The officials came, struck a few blows with hammers on the building, had lunch and left, in an exact repeat of the ‘action’ that B ward officials had taken in the first week of February. Of course, they must have taken a few photographs to be placed on record while submitting the report to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

While dna has been writing about illegal structures coming up in the guise of old structures being 100% repaired, the residents of the area have lodged several more complaints about work on other such illegal buildings being carried out across the ward.

dna had reported on April 10 how Hasan House was ready and its developer is planning to give possession of flats once the building gets a power connection. However, on April 11, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta ordered additional municipal commissioner Pallavi Darade to visit the illegal structure and submit an action-taken report within a week.

Darade visited the structure and officials were instructed to take action. But unfortunately, no such action was taken. What happened instead was an orchestrated drama wherein six-eight labourers went up to the 10th floor of the building at 12.45pm and hammered on the walls for 30 minutes, even as officials from the building and factory department waited in a vehicle a little distance away from the building.

dna had first reported on December 2, 2015, about five illegal structures constructed in the area during the Diwali holidays. Local politicians, elected representatives and developers work hand-in-glove and civic officials have turned a blind eye to these structures.
Hasan House, an 11-storey load-bearing structure, was constructed in just one month. B ward officials were reluctant to demolish the structure and delayed action, even after it was scheduled on the list and the police had promised protection to the officials.

Assistant commissioner of B ward, Srinivas Kilaje, and an engineer from the building and factory department, Vishal Mhaiskar, were two of the officials responsible for taking action against the unscrupulous developers, but they dragged their feet on the issue.

The officials merely shot off a notice and never took any action. When dna did a follow-up story, the officials assured that action would be taken, but never fulfilled this promise. Almost three months later, in February, a symbolic demolition was undertaken. This was an eyewash as the civic staff hammered on the walls for a few minutes and stopped it after the developer’s men approached them.

Such buildings have no completion certificates or occupation certificates, and yet have access to civic amenities like water, sewerage and electricity.