The state-appointed panel on elevator safety feels inspecting elevators once in two years is enough though the number of accidents involving elevators rose from two in 2008 to eight in 2009.
Six labourers were killed when a temporary lift carrying them came crashing down 15 floors of a building in Matunga on Sunday.
The Bombay Lift Act, 1939, says an authorised lift inspector has to check elevators twice a year. The PWD, which is responsible for inspecting elevators, checks only passenger lifts, not temporary ones.
The panel’s report, a copy of which is with HT, says the city has more than 86,000 lifts on March 31, 2010, but only 15,739 were inspected in 2009-2010. The report blames ‘incompetent maintenance and repairs’ for accidents, but says modern elevators don’t require too much maintenance.
Activist Mohammed Afzal, who filed a PIL regarding elevator safety last year, said: “Thousands of lifts are added to the city each year. They aren’t being inspected even once a year. How can the panel relax the norms further?”
ST Valikar, chief engineer electrical, PWD and chairman of the panel, said he stood by the report. “We have submitted our recommendations to the state,” he said.
The panel’s report also indicates the PWD is short staffed. It has only 51 lift inspectors out of 76 sanctioned posts. Valikar said the process to filling positions was on.