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Mumbai building collapse: ‘We were against renovation, but Sena man ignored us’

Birendra Singh, a resident of Siddhi Sai building at Ghatkopar, which collapsed on Tuesday, said residents had objected to Sunil Shitap’s plan to renovate his nursing home on the ground floor

mumbai Updated: Jul 27, 2017 01:49 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
Mumbai building collapse,Sunil shitap,Building collapse
(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

Birendra Singh, a resident of Siddhi Sai building at Ghatkopar, which collapsed on Tuesday, said residents had objected to Sunil Shitap’s plan to renovate his nursing home on the ground floor.

Singh said Shitap – a Shiv Sena worker, whose wife contested the BMC elections earlier this year – called a meeting 10 days before the collapse and announced that he had permission from the BMC to renovate the nursing home.

“We objected to this. I also tried to register a complaint with the N-ward office but was unable to reach the right person. For 10 days, the renovation work caused heavy vibrations in the building.”

Bhagyashree Kapse, a BMC officer at N-ward, said, “We did not receive any complaints. If changes were being made to the structure, the residents should have complained to the ward office.”

Kapse added that the ward office had not received a request for additions or alterations to the building either. She said a user-change permission was granted for the building in 2009, after which no structural audit was conducted.

READ: After 30 hours, rescue ops at Ghatkopar end, probe begins

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the state assembly that there had been no complaints against the renovation work.

However, if people had in fact complained, the civic officers who ignored them would not be spared, he added.

Singh was at work when the building collapsed. His wife and children were also out at the time. He is now living with his in-laws at Bhandup. “We have not been given any alternative accommodation,” he said.

BMC officials said the cause of the collapse was yet to be ascertained.

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta has set up a committee to investigate the incident and submit a report in 15 days. Kapse said, “The building was constructed in 198. We have sent debris for testing to ascertain the condition of the building.”

Seventeen people died after the five-storey building collapsed on Tuesday.

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 01:48 IST