Interview with Ram Kadam, BJP MLA, Ghatkopar
Indifference to Human Life
Human greed knows no bounds -amply evident in the case of building collapse in Ghatkopar, Mumbai on July 25, 2017. Disregard for law, greed to grab public land and wilful negligence of government officials, took away lives of several innocent people.
Siddhi Sai Apartments, a four storey building collapsed at Ghatkopar’s Damodar Park in Mumbai, killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen people living in the building. Shiv Sena member Sunil Shitap is held responsible for the collapse. He carried out unauthorised work without permission and tried to alter the load bearing structure with no regards to the safety of the building.
According to the structural consultant appointed by the BMC for inquiry, the walls on the ground floor were “indiscriminately removed”. The structure would have survived longer, had it not been tampered arbitrarily. The overexposed RCC columns at the ground level supporting the entire building triggered the collapse.
BJP MLA of Ghatkopar, Ram Kadam, speaking to Realty Plus revealed that Sunil Shitap, a notorious person was about to be kicked out of Shiv Sena party because of his previous bad records. Denying the involvement of Shiv Sena, he said, “Sunil was never on good terms with other party members and because of his unruly behaviour, he always created a bad name for the party. He never took any building permissions or NOC for the renovation work. Indeed, there are loopholes in the system and policies that people like him take advantage.”
BMC officials said they did not receive any complaints from the residents of Siddhi Sai regarding the repairs.The residents of the building state that Sunil Shitap used to threaten them with his political connections.
The Crux of the Matter
The report submitted by BMC committee led by additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal, to Ajoy Mehta, Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai stated that Shitap owned three flats on the ground floor and one on the first. He allegedly wanted to convert a maternity home run by Dr Padma V Khade into a restaurant. The report says work started even before Khade could vacate the premises.
The committee in its report has also pointed towards administrative lapses in the matter. The then medical officer of health (MOH) had issued a certification to the maternity home without proper documents and the current MOH and sanitary inspector of the N ward Ghatkopar had cancelled the maternity home’s registration, acting on Shitap’s wife Swati’s request. Swati contested the 2017 BMC elections as a Sena candidate.
“Sunil Shitap ran a nursing home without securing the necessary permissions, did not pay building maintenance charges and residents used to face water supply issues because Shitap used water in his clinic on a commercial basis,” revealed one of the aggrieved building resident.
Ram Kadam said, “As per the residents, few minutes before the collapse, when the building started shaking labourers working on the ground floor escaped, without raising an alert. Most of the residents were at home and could not make it out of the building in time.”Ranjit Agale, the interior designer of questionable qualification, appointed by Sunil Shitap extensively damaged the load-bearing columns of the building and permitted illegal construction. However, Ram Kadam denied the role of architect or interior designer (who is in hiding) and held Sunil Shitap solely responsible for the whole mishap.
Read full Interview here: