MUMBAI: Opposition corporators in BMC’s standing committee on Wednesday hit out at former municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi for granting a provisional Occupation Certificate (OC) to Bhandup’s Sunrise Hospital in Dreams Mall and incumbent chief Iqbal Chahal for ignoring the building proposal (BP) department’s report to review the provisional OC.
They demanded a judicial probe by a principal secretary rank officer, instead of deputy municipal commissioner Prabhat Rahangdale, into the fire that broke out in the mall on March 26. The hospital is located on the third floor of the mall.
Even as Chahal said he would not comment on the proceedings of the standing committee meeting, the BMC did not renew the nursing home licence of Sunrise Hospital on Wednesday.
The BMC said it did not extend the nursing home licence, which ended on March 31, since the hospital management did not submit a fresh no-objection certificate from the fire brigade and permanent OC from the BP department. “They will have to shut down the hospital unless they comply with these requirements,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner (health).
Raising a point of order in the standing committee meeting, Congress corporator Ravi Raja, who is the opposition leader in the BMC, said people had died in the hospital fire due to BMC’s negligence.
“The entire paper trail shows that the office of the municipal commissioner is involved in this. This phenomenon of issuing permissions on WhatsApp groups is unheard of…The current municipal commissioner has not even briefed the standing committee when lives have been lost. There are many unanswered questions and the finger is pointing directly at the current municipal commissioner,” Raja said. He demanded a judicial probe since senior IAS officers are in the dock over the incident.
“The documents, which are now in public domain, show that there was blatant misuse of power in granting a provisional OC by Pardeshi. There is no such thing as a provisional OC and this is a violation of the Development Control Rules. The BP department’s report was submitted in August 2020, but the provisional OC was not revoked, so this shows complete neglect on the part of Chahal too,” claimed Samajwadi Party corporator and MLA Rais Shaikh.
BJP corporator Vinod Mishra demanded that the kin of the deceased be given Rs 10 lakh each. “The chief minister apologised, but actually Chahal must apologise. The BMC has not taken any responsibility so far. The officials responsible must be booked for criminal negligence and an FIR must be filed against them…” he said, adding that if a high-level probe is not initiated, the BJP will move the Bombay high court seeking a probe into the fatal hospital blaze.
Last August, the BP department had raised a red flag stating that the grant of provisional OC to Sunrise Hospital must be reviewed and that it wasn’t proper to delink the irregularities of Dreams Mall from the hospital. However, despite a detailed report from the BP department the BMC did not review or revoke the provisional OC.
BMC officials said after the report was submitted, the hospital had made a fresh representation seeking a regular OC. Chahal had then instructed the BP department to str-ictly go by the law while processing the representation and take necessary action.