High-rise panel to be revamped | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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High-rise panel to be revamped

The Urban Development department has decided to revamp the structure of the High-rise Building Committee after the arrest of one of its members, Shailesh Mahimtura on bribery charges on Monday.

mumbai Updated: May 19, 2010 00:44 IST
Debasish Panigrahi

The Urban Development department has decided to revamp the structure of the High-rise Building Committee after the arrest of one of its members, Shailesh Mahimtura on bribery charges on Monday.

Mahimtura and his aides were held for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 15 lakh from a Matunga-based builder for issuing a No Objection Certificate for one of his upcoming projects.

“We will revamp the committee and redefine its function. We will appoint experts with a clean track record and those who are academically inclined,” Urban Development Secretary T C Benjamin said.

He added the administration was unhappy with the working of the committee and was planning an overall assessment.

“We have received several complaints about the committee’s working. Several vested interests were working within the committee. That's why we were thinking of devising its role," Benjamin said.

He said practising engineers or architects were not desirable candidates because, “they could be part of the project that they are sanctioning. Instead, we will take people from that background, say IIT engineers.”

The six-member committee, consisting of officials from the civic development's planning department, fire department,
private architects and civil engineers, was formed almost six years ago to vet proposals for high rises.

A high-rise by definition is any building taller than 70 m. The BMC recommends appointees to the committee, which the state government then approves. The committee functions under the Urban Development department.

Benjamin said Mahimtura faces imminent removal following his arrest. "We have sought a report from the ACB. After receiving the report we will replace him," he added. Mahimtura is also a member of the Heritage Committee that is also appointed by the Urban Development department.

The special ACB court on Tuesday remanded Mahimtura to judicial custody, until Wednesday. It remanded his aide, Kunal Dhuri to judicial custody. The other accused, Jahambin Jumatiya was remanded to ACB custody until May 21.