HC: Developers can complete project on Pune wall collapse site
The Bombay high court (HC) allowed two developers, Kunal Housing and Alcon Land Marks, to complete their Aspiree project at Kondhwa in Pune, after a construction work undertaken by them was stopped by the civic body, following the death of 15 people on June 29 after a retention wall of a society collapsed on their make-shift shanties.
The court was hearing a petition on November 20 filed by the two developers, in which they had challenged the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) stop-work notice over the construction work at the site.
A week after the mishap, PMC engineers issued a show-cause notice to the developers on the ground that while carrying on the excavation work of the basement, the workers did not conduct shoring and straitening work.
The engineers also said that the distance from the nearby building to the site was not sufficient.
On July 12, the PMC issued a stop-work notice to the developer.
The developer then approached the high court, challenging the PMC’s stop-work notice, contending that it was issued without “application of mind”.
PMC responded to the petition, stating that when the civic officials visited the site, the construction of four wings – A, B, C and D – and two bungalows, were completed, while the construction of wing E was on-going.
Though the excavation work for wing F was undertaken near wing E, there was no shoring and strutting work done for the sides of the excavated walls and no safety net or grills were used to cover the exposed excavated sidewalls.
The civic body also pointed out that the bungalows had access through a narrow lane which passed by the building under-construction, subjecting the occupants and their visitors to unnecessary risk.
It added that the builder had started the ready-mix-concrete plant at the site, exposing the residents and labourers to air and noise pollution. Besides, the civic officials also noticed that the unauthorised under-construction structure was being used as the site office.
A division bench of justice SJ Kathawalla and justice BP Colabawalla on November 20 struck down the stop-work notice issued by the PMC in view of the builders’ reply to the issues raised by the civic officials and some undertakings given by the builder.
The builder submitted that there was a six-metre-wide road passing through an adjoining land, which can be used as a safe passage by the bungalow owners. They also said that no shoring and strutting was required to be undertaken to strengthen the work of excavation near wing E, as the excavation was being done in solid rock.
The developers’ petition further stated that they undertook to construct a stream, as provided in the sanctioned plan. With regards to the issues of air and noise pollution, owing to ready-mix-concrete plant at the site, the developers said that they had produced a no-objection certificate on the matter. The bench accepted the undertaking and struck down the stop-work notice.
Fifteen people, including four children and two women were killed, while two others were injured when the compound wall of Alcon Stylus Co-operative Housing Society in Kondhwa collapsed on makeshift shanties adjacent to it in the early hours of June 29 after heavy rains lashed the city.