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Water leakage in Mumbai’s iconic Asiatic library: Government to crack whip on contractor, babus

BJP legislators corner government over damage to hundreds of rare books, minister promises action

mumbai Updated: Dec 16, 2017 14:21 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Asiatic Library,Assembly
The government also assured that it would fix the leakages in one month’s time(File Photo)

Under fire from Mumbai legislators across party lines, the state government said it would initiate strict action against the contractor and the officials concerned for the water leakage at the iconic Asiatic library this monsoon. The water leakage had damaged hundreds of rare books. The government also assured the lower house that it would fix the leakages in one month’s time.

The government was cornered by legislators from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the leakages in the library at Asiatic Society of Mumbai at Horniman Circle. MLA Ashish Shelar said there are references in history that say there would be no flooding in the city if the height of the constructions in the city do not exceed the height of the first step of the Asiatic Society building.

BJP’s Atul Bhatkhalkar, who raised the question, said that the leakages were witnessed within six months of the repair work carried out by the public works department (PWD) as it was of inferior quality. Ganpatrao Deshmukh of Peasants and Workers Party said it was surprising that the library had witnessed leakage of monsoon water for two consecutive years.

PWD minister Chandrakant Patil, while admitting to the damage due to the water leakage, assured the house that repair works on the roof would be completed in one month while the on-going work on the iconic steps would be completed by December 31. “We have taken it very seriously. These types of lapses by the machinery would not be tolerated. To avoid the delay in the preventive measures we have changed the traditional system and begun to appoint firms for annual maintenance contracts of the buildings and bungalows. Besides it, we have also decided to adopt newer technology for the government-owned buildings and structures,” he said.

He later said he has convened a meeting of the officials immediately after the winter session to assess the damages to the books and the building.

First Published: Dec 16, 2017 00:02 IST