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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

After Ghatkopar building collapse, can BMC act on 22,000 other illegal structures in Mumbai, please?

Tuesday’s Ghatkopar building collapse, which claimed 17 lives, was also a result of unauthorised construction and structural changes

mumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2017 11:40 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
The debris at the Ghatkopar site being cleared.
The debris at the Ghatkopar site being cleared.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

As illegal alteration surfaced as the preliminary cause of the Ghatkopar building collapse, which killed 17 people, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) responded saying the “residents should have complained about it”.

But in cases where residents alerted them about illegal construction and the danger involved, this is how they swiftly they acted – solved 2,482 of the 22,808 complaints, a mere 10%, in 2 years – the data from their complaints portal showed.

A local Shiv Sena worker Sunil Shitap altered the loading beams while renovating his nursing home on the ground floor in Siddhi Sai, the building in Ghatkopar.

The BMC last year launched the portal to help citizens file complaints with the encroachment removal department.

Of the 22,808 complaints registered, the BMC issued notices – the first step in solving the complaint – in 6,803 complaints, while it undertook demolition in 1,283 cases.

A separate RTI application filed in 2016 showed the BMC received 70,000 complaints of illegal construction from 2014 to October 2016, of which 36,000 were awaiting action at the time of getting the response.

The number of complaints was 1,57,317 in 2014, of which 18,578 were to be addressed until October 2016, the reply to the RTI query revealed.

The website allows citizens to file complaints, upload photographs and tag the spot on a map. Once the complaint is registered, citizens get a reference number to track the progress and find out which department is handling the complaint. Civic officials, too, have to upload pictures of action taken at every step.

For instance, if a citizen has complained about illegal encroachments on a footpath, the officials inspecting the stretch have to upload the photo of the footpath after the inspection, attach the geo-coordinates and a photo of the notice sent.

If a matter is in court, the information is updated on the website.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 10:09 IST