Mumbai: BMC to protect errant officials | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai: BMC to protect errant officials

mumbai Updated: Oct 04, 2013 13:22 IST
Vaishnavi Vasudevan

The civic administration is planning to write to the police commissioner asking him not to press criminal charges against its staffers arrested after its staff quarters in Mazgaon collapsed on Friday, killing 61 people.

Its argument: there was no criminal intent on their part.

The administration will make the same plea for the civic engineers suspended after the collapse of Aftab Mansion in Mahim, in which 10 people had died.

The decision, announced in the standing committee meeting on Thursday, met with strong opposition from corporators, who later adjourned the meeting.

There is clamour from corporators and lower-level civic workers for making senior civic officials, including additional municipal commissioners and the civic chief, responsible for the collapse.

“The employees have been suspended due to negligence and not taking appropriate action, but they have not been blamed for causing the collapse. We are initiating an inquiry, and if they are found guilty, they will be punished as per the Municipal Act,” said additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani.

He added that these employees should have cancelled the licence of the decorator, who had constructed the mezzanine floor, and this omission was the reason for the suspension.

“But it is not yet proved that the mezzanine floor is the cause of the collapse,” Adtani said.

CD Chore, assistant commissioner (markets), whose department was responsible for the maintenance of the building, may not be punished.

“According to the prima facie reports, we have not felt he is responsible for the collapse,” said Adtani.

Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar, who heads both the markets and planning & design departments, will not be in the ambit too.

“We have understood that the files never reached the AMC, so action cannot be initiated against her,” he said.

Meanwhile, more than 500 members of municipal engineers’ unions participated in an agitation against arresting the engineers for the collapse.

Some corporators supported the agitation.

“The engineers do not have the right to utilise the funds for repair. Officials who are responsible must be punished, engineers alone cannot be targeted,” said corporator Shubha Raul.