The Bombay High Court will soon appoint an independent agency to conduct a structural audit of Gautam Niwas, the building in Andheri that had apparently developed cracks in February 2009 due to the vibro-hammer used in the Metro Rail project.
Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), a venture between Reliance Infrastructure, MMRDA and French firm Veolia, has the contract for phase I of the Metro Rail between Versova, Andheri and Ghatkopar.
A division bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Amjad Sayed, on Wednesday, said they would decide on appointing an independent authority on August 23.
During the hearing, the court had said the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) could conduct the structural audit of the building.
Varshna Co-Operative Housing Society, which comprises Gautam Niwas and some other buildings, had moved the high court in June requesting that an independent agency conduct the structural audit since the earlier firm — Strucwel Designers & Consultants — was blacklisted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on February 5.
The report submitted by structural engineer Chetan Raikar of Structwel stated that the building had suffered cracks due to the “original poor quality construction” and “not due to use of the vibro-hammer”.
Simran Puri, advocate for Varshna CHS, argued about the validity of Structwel conducting an audit when it was blacklisted by the BMC in February.
Also, Structwel was conducting a pre-construction survey for the second Metro.
Since Reliance Infra will be constructing the second Metro, Structwel is an interested party and will most likely give a biased report, alleges the revision petition filed by Varshna CHS.
In addition, the corporation had issued a notice to residents in June saying that the building was in ruinous condition, which is contrary to Structwel’s stability certificate.
Puri pointed out that the report submitted by another structural engineer Ghoge, approved by MMRDA, in February sated that there was damage to the building.
J.J. Bhat, counsel for MMOPL, opposed the argument saying even Ghoge was blacklisted by BMC.