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Cracks inside south Mumbai college not owing to Metro-3 work: MMRC officials

MMRC engineers, who inspected the college building on Tuesday, said vibrations from piling were within permissible limits.

mumbai Updated: Oct 03, 2017 23:57 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Metro-3,Siddhart College
College staff claims that the ongoing Metro work outside the building has resulted cracks in the building, which is a heritage structure. (HT photo)

A day after Siddharth College, Fort, wrote to the chief minister about the Grade II heritage building being damaged owing to the ongoing Metro-3 work near the college, officials from the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) said that the cracks on the walls and pillars inside the building were old.

Engineers from the MMRC, who inspected the college building on Tuesday, said vibrations from piling were within permissible limits.

“We would like to highlight that vibrations caused during piling work are being continuously measured and it has been observed that they are less than 1/4 of the permissible limit allowed in areas having heritage or weak buildings,” said Ashwini Bhide, managing director, MMRC, in a statement.

She added that the MMRC had inspected the college building before the work began and had installed monitoring instruments, including crack-metres, to monitor the effect of construction on the structure. It has also recorded the damage to the structure has sustained before the Metro work began.

While MMRC officials said the cracks on the walls were old, college rubbished the claim.

“When a structural audit was conducted, before the work began, the engineers never entered our basement which is where maximum cracks have developed. The report of that audit was submitted to us and it only mentions the ground plus four structure. there is no mention of the basement in it,” said principal Umaji Maske.

The college, built in early 1950’s, has a gymkhana and offices for most of their cultural bodies, NSS and NCC in the basement. Apart from cracks, the college staff also pointed out at the plaster peeling off the ceiling.

“At any given point of the day, there are students in the basement offices. We are worried for their life,” Maske said.

After sending SOS letters to several authorities, including the Ministry of Urban Development, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), MMRC and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the college received a response from the BMC on Tuesday. The civic body has requested the MMRC to conduct another more structural audit of the college building.

“A site engineer from MMRC also visited the college on Tuesday. We hope this matter is being taken seriously,” said Maske.

In the statement released on Tuesday evening, Bhide also mentioned that piling work for the underground Metro project will be completed in the next three to four months.

“However, considering the apprehension of authorities, our contractors have been instructed to coordinate with the college authorities so that their problems are addressed,” she said.

First Published: Oct 03, 2017 23:57 IST