The Borivli housing society where a 50-year-old, Chhaya Shetty, died on Tuesday after falling down an empty elevator shaft, say they may terminate the contract of the elevator maintenance firm if it is established that it was negligent.
Eskay Elevators India Private Limited has been maintaining the lift for the past four years. “The police are investigating the case. If the report states that it was negligence on the part of Eskay Elevators, we may terminate their contract,” Sharad Bhatia, a committee member of Manorath housing society told Hindustan Times.
What Bhatia called “an isolated incident” occurred on Tuesday morning when Shetty was visiting her older sister, Baby, who lived on the third floor.
“My aunt was waiting for the lift. It appears she must have seen the light while the lift was going up to the fifth floor, opened the lift door and stepped in,” said Shetty’s nephew, Surendra (39), a businessman. “She fell down the empty shaft.”
Shetty succumbed to her injuries in hospital. Bhatia said another resident had used the lift a few minutes before the incident. Surendra blamed Eskay Elevators. “We will lodge a complaint of negligence against the firm,” he said.
A spokesperson of the elevator company told Hindustan Times that the elevator’s track was abused.
“The concrete sill on which the lift door [on the third floor] is fixed, was found broken due to which the door’s lock lost it alignment,” the spokesperson said, requesting anonymity. “Fifteen minutes before the accident the lift was used by a resident but nobody on the third floor had used it. Our staff had inspected it a day ago and it was fine. Even now, the lift is in place.”
The spokesperson added that the elevator gets stuck between floors due to power fluctuation. “In an emergency, to ensure that the lift is brought to the nearest floor if it gets stuck, Auto Rescue Device System (ARDS) is installed, but not all builders put use it because the system incurs additional cost,” the spokesperson said.
Shetty, who was under treatment for cancer, lived alone at Dahisar (East).
Her husband died in January 2009. Her son, Rohit, an executive with a software firm, lived separately, but visited Shetty every month.
The Borivli police have registered a case of accidental death and are taking statements of residents and the technicians who had inspected the lift. “If negligence on the part of the elevator maintenance firm is established, we will register a case of causing death due to negligence against them,” said Police Inspector A.J. Rajmane.