5 workers dead in transit camp collapse | india | Hindustan Times
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5 workers dead in transit camp collapse

Builders flouted norms, admits slum rehabilitation authority, promises to appoint consultant to monitor work, reports Gigil Varghese.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2007 01:12 IST
Gigil Varghese

Five labourers died and 20 were injured when an under-construction transit camp for slumdwellers collapsed at Shimpoli junction in Borivli (West) on Friday morning.

Four of the deceased have been identified as Chandan Sheikh (30), Jahangir Sheikh (28), Asrul Sheikh (25) and Mewalal Kanojia (30), owner of a laundry shop on the ground floor.

The structure, being constructed by Pawan Seth builders, under a Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme, was meant to provide shelter to 238 slumdwellers, the police and SRA officials said.

Slumdwellers live in these precarious vertical structures — typically made of steel so that they can be easily dismantled — while the builder razes slums to constructs buildings.

SRA contractors Salim Powte and Kasam have been booked on charge of negligence, Senior Police Inspector Vinayak Nimbalkar said.

"They have been summoned for questioning and we will arrest them. We will book the builder, too, in case of any negligence."

It has taken five deaths for the rehab authority to wake up to the shoddy construction practices of builders. The SRA now plans to appoint a consultant to monitor the quality of construction of both the rehab buildings and transit camps. "The SRA doesn't have staff to monitor the work itself, so we plan to appoint a consultant," said T Chandrashekhar, Chief Executive Officer, SRA. "Unless they meet standards which the consultants will certify, occupation certificates will not be given."

The cost of appointing the consultant will be recovered from the builder, he added.

"Usually builders use low-grade steel material to build transit camps as they have to be dismantled," SRA officials said.

The builder is supposed to appoint a structural engineer to monitor the work, as per norms. Pawan Seth builders had not appointed one and also did not submit a report or intimate the authorities that they had started work, Chandrashekhar said. "We have cancelled his license and will recover the compensation amount from the builder as well."

(inputs from Megha Sood)