While thousands of files related to building construction going missing from civic offices is of concern in itself as this could allow the builders to make ad hoc changes to these structures, what is even more worrying is that many of them belong to the same architects, which raises suspicion of a deliberate attempt to keep their details off the record.
Data with Hindustan Times reveals there are more than 100 architects in the western suburbs alone who have ‘lost’ two or more project files.
Of them, at least 44 architects have lost five or more files at the offices of the building proposals department in the western suburbs.
Here are a few shockers — a Khar-based liasoning architect has 23 of its files relating to projects in prime areas like Oshiwara, Versova and Bandra (West) missing. Eleven files of an architect firm, which has projects in tony Bandra (West) and Santacruz ( West), are untraceable.
Liasoning architects are firms which are solely tasked with the correspondence between the civic body and the builders.
They are usually not involved in the design aspect, and focus only on getting permissions for the construction.
There are many such architects, quite a few of them solely into liasoning, who have multiple files missing. A deeper study reveals that many of these files relate to the same area where the architect has undertaken projects.
For instance, one firm has nine files missing — all of these projects are at Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme.
Activists say so many files of one architect going missing cannot be a coincidence.
Shirish Sukhatme, president of the Practicing Engineers Architects and Town Planners Association admitted this might be the case, and said: “There are a few black sheep among architects who might want to keep their files hidden, but even the civic officers are to be blamed for these files disappearing.”
“Most times, the officers themselves sell these files since there are illegalities in them. To avoid such officers from playing truant, the civic body must have a back-up of these files.”
Civic chief Sitaram Kunte was not available for comment despite repeated attempts.