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IS THE CORRUPT BUILDER – BUREAUCRATIC NEXUS PUTTING THE LIVES OF RESIDENTS IN DANGER ON PALM BEACH ROAD

palm-beach-roadOne after the other the skeletons are coming out of the box in the case of the fire safety violations in the high rises on Palm Beach Road. Ever since your channel has begun the Fire Safety Initiative, builders of the high rises on Palm Beach Road are rushing to get their final NOCs from the NMMC Fire Dept. which points out how the issue was being neglected until you channel took it up. That is why we continue to raise the most significant question of the issue – “Is the corrupt builder – bureaucratic nexus putting the lives of residents in danger on Palm Beach Road?” Ever since NMTV News took up the matter of fire safety violations on Palm Beach Road looks like a Pandora’s box has been opened. Because in addition to the fire safety violation within the premise, high tension wires running along the towers on Palm Beach Road poses grave threat and danger that cannot be ignored. We understood this after we closely studied and surveyed the entire stretch of the high rises that have been built in a congested style leaving no space between the plot and the high tension wires that run adjacent to it. For example take a look at Kshitij and Tharwani Heights. Both these towers like the others are built close to high tension wires and are on the list of NMMC for violation of fire safety norms. Like the other high rises, these societies too got their Occupancy Certificate without fulfilling fire safety requirements based on conditional NOCs. And even today these towers are violating fire safety norms. The case of Kshitij as there is no open space or green zone developed – instead one can see another structure coming up along with the main tower. The proximity of this tower with the high tension wires perhaps is the worst in comparison to all towers. In the case of Tharwani Heights, residents are occupying the tower but the builder does not have the final NOC from NMMC Fire Dept. On the other hand, the commercial towers like Kesar Solitaire pose several risks because it is commercial. These towers will have more of electrical gadgets and equipments and because it’s situated close to high tension wires, the chances of fire incidences are more, say experts. In addition to this concern – all these towers including the ones constructed by Bhumiraj Builders are so complex in nature that in case if a fire was to occur on the top floors, the NMMC Fire Vehicles would find it difficult to maneuver their vehicles within the area or the plot of each builder., not to forget that the NMMC Chief Fire Officer himself has stated that the Bronto Skylift is pretty much useless as it cannot be used in case of fire on top floors. Evidently, the builders of Kshitij and Tharwani Heights refused to speak to us when we approached them with the fire safety violations. On the other hand, sources allege that despite it being mandatory under law, Kesar Solitaire allegedly does not have a fire officer. When we tried to contact the Managing Director of Kesar Group Ashwin Gogari on this and concerns that emerge due to the proximity of his tower to high tension wires, he refused to speak to us. The Managing Director of Bhumiraj Construction – Bhupendra Shah however did speak to us. After all being the President of the Builders Association of Navi Mumbai one expects him to set the right precedent. Bhupendra Shah said that he had the final NOCs from the NMMC Fire Dept. for his projects but did accept that others builders of Palm Beach High Rises were yet to take the final NOC from NMMC. When we told him that all towers on Palm Beach Road including the ones constructed by him are reportedly sent notices for violation of fire safety norms, he said that the notices were to societies and not to builders. He was also quick to blame the society for not taking care of equipments. At the NMMC office, the man in charge of the NMMC Fire Dept. DMC Jagannath Sinnarkar agrees that every builder should take their final NOC before residents occupy. When we pointed out that towers on Palm Beach Road did not have the final NOC yet residents were occupying the towers, all the Dy. Municipal Commissioner could say was that notices have been sent to these towers and action will be taken. However, social activist Sandeep Thakur sees beyond the claims of the builders and NMMC administration. He says that when towers do not have the final NOC from NMMC, it simply means that laws are not being followed and peoples’ lives are in danger. That is why the issue of the danger that looms large on the towers of Palm Beach Road raises the question “Is the corrupt nexus of builders and official putting the lives of residents living in Palm Beach High Rises in danger?” No point for guessing the NMMC Fire Dept. officials refused to answer this question while BANM’s President Bhupendra Shah claimed that there is no nexus. With NMMC officers killing their conscience, the greed and never-ending hunger for money of NMMC officials give easy way to selfish builders to hunt innocent residents in the name of dream homes. However as our social responsibility as fourth estate, NMTV will continue this “Fire Safety” movement until the corrupt nexus of builders and officers stop playing with the lives of residents living in high rises on Palm Beach Road. With cameraperson Satish Garud, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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