An Intelligence Bureau (IB) report has cautioned that the plan to construct residential towers on a plot near the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) would be detrimental to the fuel refinery’s security as oil and gas installations are extremely vulnerable to terrorists, particularly after the 26/11 attacks.
The Bombay high court, on Monday, ordered a status quo (stop work on construction) on the building on the plot, in Mahul, Chembur, which belongs to Oswal Agro Mills Limited.
The court was hearing a petition filed by HPCL, challenging construction activity and the conversion of the zone in which the installation is located from an industrial to a residential zone. HPCL counsels F Divetre and M Siodia, while referring to the IB report, argued that the authorities should not have converted the I 3 zone — which is for heavy industries — into a residential and commercial zone.
The IB report states that several other multi-storey buildings are already being built under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme near the HPCL refinery. The report warns that if the buildings are allotted to parties other than security agencies, they may be used as a springboard to attack the refinery.
Concerned by the report’s findings, a division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice RM Sawant questioned the Centre and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on how they permitted the conversion. “What if something happens?” justice Majmudar asked, adding that their could be environmental concerns and danger to potential residents.