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Metro drilling causes cracks

mumbai Updated: Feb 18, 2010 01:25 IST
HT Correspondent

Several buildings in suburban Andheri, which is part of phase one of the Metro Rail project (Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar), have been damaged by the “vibrohammer” used to lay the foundation for the line’s elevated route.

Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL — a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure, MMRDA and French firm Veolia) won the Metro contract for 35 years on a Built-Operate-Transfer basis.

The high court had ordered the inspection of Gautam Niwas, opposite Seven Bungalows, Andheri, after Dr Monica Matani filed a public interest litigation alleging that MMOPL and MMRDA had violated safety norms by using ‘vibrohammers’ which had caused cracks in her building.

A report submitted by S.R. Nandargikar, MMRDA chief engineer, says: “Generally speaking, the consultants have expressed that the said damages are not age-related or gradually developed but appeared to be a result of violent vibratory motion. I am in agreement with the report/findings.”

MMRDA asked SN Bhobhe & Associates for an expert opinion on whether the alleged damage caused to the building was due to the use of vibrohammer, or attributable to natural causes.

J.J. Bhat, MMOPL counsel, told the court they have already repaired Matani’s flat. Bhat sought two weeks to go through the report and file a reply.

Matani, whose building is around 30 feet from the project site, sent a complaint to MMRDA on October 14, 2008.

While the vibrohammer was in use — it was allegedly operated for about three minutes — the entire building reportedly started shaking. Plaster fell off from the ceiling of flat number 34, and a bracket on one of the drainage pipes broke, Matani’s petition says.

Matani’s petition alleges that MMOPL and MMRDA are flouting Indian and international safety norms — one of her charges is that they are not using mandatory devices to monitor the condition of nearby structures.

Matani’s petition claims residents of the neighbouring Jyoti building have run out of their homes in fear on at least three occasions. It also alleges a bus depot at Andheri, inaugurated in June 2008, has developed at least 25-30 one-inch wide cracks on its walls.