Mundka fire: AAP, BJP spar over lapses
AAP MCD incharge Durgesh Pathak on Sunday alleged that in 2016, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation gave a licence to run a factory at the four-storey building where a fire killed 27 people on Friday.
New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday alleged several irregularities by the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled municipal corporations which led to the Mundka fire tragedy even as the saffron party claimed that the AAP government in Delhi failed to act against the illegal building.
AAP MCD incharge Durgesh Pathak on Sunday alleged that in 2016, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation gave a licence to run a factory at the four-storey building where a fire killed 27 people on Friday. He added that the licence was revoked in 2017. A CCTV assembling unit was running from the building without requisite permissions and safety protocols, initial police investigation has shown.
He also alleged that the building sealed by the SC-appointed monitoring committee in 2019 for irregularities but industrial activities continued to take place in the building “with the support of the MCD staff”.
“In 2016, this factory’s owners applied for a licence for industrial activities. The North MCD issued the factory licence despite being aware of the fact that it falls in the non-conforming zone where industrial activity is not allowed. But after seven-eight months people started complaining and the MCD cancelled the licence in 2017. But because of the BJP’s support industrial activities continued at the site even after the cancellation of the licence,” Pathak said at a press conference.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the AAP claims were a “baseless and blatant lie”. He accused the AAP of doing politics over a human tragedy. “North MCD has never issued any factory or storage licence to the building where the fire incident took place. In 2016, under self-scheme the building owner took out a factory licence, which was soon cancelled by North MCD,” said Kapoor.
Pathak also alleged that despite being sealed by the monitoring committee in 2018, the industrial activity continued at the premises. “The BJP-ruled MCD was fully aware of these activities, yet they allowed all this to happen. One Manish Lakra is the owner of this building. I’m baffled about how this Manish Lakra had so much power that all the activities continued even after the monitoring committee of the Supreme Court sealed the building,” Pathak said, and added that Lakra was close to BJP leaders.
The AAP leader sought thorough investigation into the matter.
BJP rejected Pathak’s claims that Lakra had anything to do with the party. Kapoor said, “He might have supported the party during elections, but this doesn’t mean that he was a member of the party or that he was close to party leaders.”
Posing a counter question to the AAP, Kapoor asked how the building got an electricity connection. “It is clear that this building had no licence or permit from North MCD. In fact, the AAP government should explain how this building got electricity connections, a fire NOC and how a Delhi government liquor shop was opened in the illegal building,” Kapoor said.