Yavatmal: Roads in drought hit Yavatmal district were washed with water because the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was going to visit! Thousands of liters of water was wasted in order to do this.
The Chief Minister was to visit Sarul village in Babhulgaon taluka. The whole village was decorated in preparation for his arrival. The village gram panchayat office, school and dispensary were decorated. However the public works department decided to wash the road with drinking water.
In many villages in drought struck Yavatmal, it is a struggle to find drinking water. In such a situation, they wasted water by pouring it on the roads using tankers - not once, but four times!
Fire Brigade withdraws clearance to Golden Chariot Restaurant at Hub Mall, Goregaon
Mumbai, 14 March, 2015: Planning to kill yourself and your family after a tasty meal? Go to Golden Chariot Restaurant. Blocked fire-exits and various other dangerous practices makes this restaurant at Goregaon's Hub Mall your best bet at achieving a fiery death. Although activists like Shaikh Fakhruddin Junaid, Sulaiman Bhimani and myself have repeatedly pointed it out to Mumbai's Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Fire Brigade, the ability of Golden Chariot to bribe the powers-that-be and also abuse judicial processes has helped it to survive. But orders passed by MCGM and Fire Brigade in 2017 suggest that Golden Chariot's goose is being slowly cooked. After the restaurant finally caught fire on 29th December, 2016 (read newspaper reports here and here), civic authorities are finding it difficult to dodge their responsibility to ensure public safety by sealing it.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Kiran Achrekar and Deputy Chief Fire Officer V N Panigrahi have ordered the closure and sealing of Golden Chariot. Five days days after the fire, DMC Kiran Achrekar wrote in his remark to the official report, "Ask Dy.CFO to seal the premises for failure in safety measures."
The report indicates that because of the recent fire, the excuse that MCGM's previous notices and orders were subjudice at Dindoshi Court fell apart. Despite the DMC's instructions, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer dragged his feet for two months, but finally he wrote in his official recommendations on 6th March 2017, "...it seems there are discrepancies in the area, encroachment, unauthorized addition / alteration, construction of loft, etc. in the said premise... In view of the above, the NOC/requirement letter issued under no. FBL/S/106/1076 dated 01/11/2006 by this department stands cancelled."
While this is a encouraging, the fine print betrays the reluctance of MCGM and Mumbai Fire Brigade to take actually seal the restaurant. The last line of the CFO's recommendations hints that Golden Chariot may seek an escape route by contacting the MOH-P/S Ward for "fresh remarks from the fire-safety point of view after verifying the above facts". Many municipal and fire-brigade officials appear to have gotten used to getting their share of gold from Golden Chariot. So, public safety isn't exactly a priority. As the wise saying goes, "Apna kaam banta, toh bhaad mein jaye janta."
Flat Sale or Leave & Licence? Jain "Charitable" Trust cheats Blind Flat-buyer
Mumbai, 22nd February, 2017: It's a simple case of cheating and breach-of-trust by a Jain "charitable" trust called Vardhman Sanskar Dham (Trust Reg. no. 19790 – Mumbai). In 2007, Vardhaman Sanskar Dham purchased a flat in Nairut building, Rajiv Nagar, Virar, for Rs 4.30 lakh. Four years later, in 2011, the trust sold this flat to a blind man named Mr Jethmal Sonigra for Rs 13.19 lakhs, earning more than three times the amount that it had invested. However, although the first letterhead-receipt of the trust clearly shows that Mr Sonigra had paid for purchase of the flat (565 sq. ft. x Rs 2,600/-), the second letter says that this amount is a "deposit" against which "we have hand over possession for residence purpose".
Through this letter, this "charitable trust" is trying to say that allowing him to stay in this house was only a "charitable act" towards a blind man, and the money that he paid them – three times the price of the flat – was only a "deposit"!
Jethimal Sonigra and his daughter Pravina.
At first Sonigra did not suspect foul play. For over four years, Sonigra kept on pursuing the trustees to register the sale, and the trustees kept on postponing and evading him. In the course of this transaction and its follow-up, the blind man interacted with Mr Yogesh M Shah (chief trustee), Mr Jyotish N Kuwadia (trustee), Mr Bharat Sakaria (trustee), and Dineshbhai (retired trustee), who all kept passing the buck at one another.
In October 2016, Sonigra finally decided that enough was enough, and he sent the trust a formal letter through a lawyer requesting them to register a sale agreement. The trustees haven't replied in writing, but they have been telling the blind man that they will make a Leave-and-Licence agreement, but not a sale agreement!
Now at the end of his tether after five years of chasing the trustees, Sonigra submitted a written complaint to Arnala police station. Surprisingly, it seems PSI Govle told him, after perusing the documents and speaking to CA Chetan Bal and other trustees, that he should be grateful to Vardhman Sanskar Dham and its charitable-minded trustees!
Read these documents and understand the facts of the case:
Vardhaman Sanskar Dham Trust has at least 10 flats in Nairut building alone, and 30 or more flats in surround areas in Virar. Some flats are held in the names of trustees. Quite a few flats are occupied by "charitable" occupants like Jethmal Sonigra.
How many more followers of Jainism has Vardhman Sanskar Dham exploited? Is this their regularmodus operandi?
Written with key inputs by Sulaiman Bhimani (9323642081)
Appeal to all to support the cause by signing and promoting the petition http://tinyurl.com/jk47wmf The petition is about safety of Innocent people from Fire Hazard due to high scale corruption in Fire Dept and inaction as well as lethargy of Fire Dept. endangering lives of many innocent citizens.
The Hon’ble Chief Minister,Shri Devendra Fadnavis,
Mantralaya, 6th Floor, Madame Cama Road,
Mumbai – 400032.
BMC Head Office, Mahapalika Marg,
Mumbai – 400001.
Mumbai Police Commissioner,
T. Marg, Opp. Crawford Market,
Mumbai – 400002.
Sub: Inaction by the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) of Mumbai Fire Brigade, Suburban Head Quarters, Marol Fire Station, Marol Naka, Mumbai, (and other officers) with regards to the illegal constructions done and subsequent fire at “Golden Chariot Restaurant” in “The Hub Mall”, Goregaon (East), Mumbai. (Hereinafter referred to as “said Restaurant” for sake of brevity), on 28.12.2016.
Sir / Madam,
We, the undersigned, fully support this Petition created by the NGO – “Citizens Justice Forum” which is working in the public interest to protest against the inaction of the concerned officers against the said Restaurant which had grossly violated construction norms and thus had resulted in a big fire on 28.12.2016.
It is highly regrettable that the authorities entrusted with the implementation of the Fire Safety norms have miserably failed to perform their duties which gave a liberty to a few devious persons to violate the law with impunity.
The said Restaurant has been operating illegally since 2008 without the mandatory permissions from MCGM – the Bldg. and Factory Dept., Fire Department etc. On 16.1.2013 the Fire Brigade Department of the MCGM after inspection of the said restaurant, submitted a report to the CFO, notifying him about the gross violations and a demand to initiate penal action against the said Restaurant. (We annex a copy of the said letter as Exhibit “A” )
CGM, Fire Department via letter dated 19.6.2014 once again notified the CFO about the various encroachments, construction in the fire exit area, deviation from the sanctioned plans and again recommended immediate action against the said Restaurant. (A copy of the said letter has been annexed and marked as Exhibit “B”).
Again MCGM’s Fire Department via letter dated 14.11.14 submitted afresh complaint to the CFO highlighting the disobedience and defiance by the said restaurant and continuation of the various violations in spite of multiple notices. They also informed the CFO that the MOH and Fire Brigade Department have rejected the application for the trade license of the said Restaurant. Despite the repeated reminders by the MCGM’s Fire Department, the CFO chose not to take any action against the said Restaurant. This non-performance of the statutory duty by the CFO undeniably amounts to aiding and abetting unauthorized constructions and nexus with this law-breaker for possible illegal gratifications. ( A copy of the said letter has been annexed and marked as Exhibit “C”.)
On 28.12.2016 at 12.20 p.m a major fire broke out in the said Restaurant which is situated on the second floor of the Hub Mall. Sweltering fire engulfed the said Restaurant and the people inside did not have any immediate access to any of the Fire Exits as the illegal alteration and construction had blocked all the exits of the said Restaurant. A major tragedy was thwarted due to the timely action of the six fire tenders pressed into service by the Fire Brigade department. The fire was quelled only in the evening and the incident was covered largely by the media also. ( A copy of the print media coverage on the above said incident is annexed and marked as Exhibit-“D”.)
It is pertinent to note that even after the blaze on 28.12.2016, no action whatsoever has been initiated against the said Restaurant by the CFO nor an FIR has been lodged which is in contravention of the the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2009.
Furthermore, to add insult to injury, the said Restaurant is functioning as usual, posing a serious threat to the unwary patrons who may become victims to the manipulations and connivance of the authorities and the owners of the said Restaurant, in case a similar incident recurs, rendering their lives in peril.
With great remorse it is submitted that if such delaying and colluding tactics are to be stopped, some stringent action has to be taken by ruthlessly demolishing the illegal constructions and alterations made by the said restaurant by following the due process of law.
Eegretfully it has become a sort of a norm in our society that affluent persons can escape the clutches of law or twist the arm of law by some manipulation and greasing of palms. This norm must be proved wrong and a true meaning should be given to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. I hereby earnestly request you to inquire into this matter with urgency and issue directions to the concerned authorities to initiate appropriate action against the said restaurant at the earliest and not wait for another fatal fire incident to occur.
The period to rectify and make necessary changes or to meet the compliance as per law is 120 days after giving the notice. But more than 120 days have lapsed and no compliance has been met till date under the Rules of Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measure Act, 2006. Under the latter Law there is a provision to start prosecution proceedings by lodging FIR regarding non- compliance of fire and life safety regulation by competent authority i.e. Mumbai fire Brigade. But Mumbai Fire Brigade failed to take any action for reasons best known to them. To the common man it would be appear to be for illegal gratifications.
There should be Departmental Inquiry to probe the involvement of Fire Brigade staff, Asstt. Mun. Commissioner, Astt. Engr. (B&F), MoH etc. of MCGM’s P/South ward, Police Officers of Vanrai Police Station etc. These law-enforcers should be dealt strictly in accordance with the Service Rules, Prevention of Corruption Act, IPC and other laws of the land and criminal proceeding should be initiated against them
We would like to draw your attention to Section 10 of the Transfers and Delays Act 21 of 2006/ (64C of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act)which mandates that no decision can be kept pending for over 3 months. In the instant case, no action is initiated despite complaints being made from December 2015. So we request to conduct a preliminary enquiry to fix responsibility on the officers responsible for this delay and take appropriate disciplinary action against them. We request that the report of the enquiry may please be sent to us, furnished to the media and uploaded on the MCGM and Maharashtra Govt. website.
We further wish to state that these concerned officers ( viz. the Mumbai Fore Brigade’s CFO, MoH, A.E. (B&F) of P/South ward, Sr. Police Inspector of Vanrai Police Station, concerned ACP and DCP etc. by their inaction on this gross illegality are violating the following provisions and attract punishment under :
IPC 217: Public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture.
IPC 218: Public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture.
IPC 221: Intentional omission to apprehend on the part of public servant bound to apprehend.
So we urge you to at least now take immediate suitable action to prevent similar tragedy and punish all the concerned officers who had connived to facilitate illegal construction which had resulted in this inferno.
We would appreciate if we are inform of the action taken on our above concerns and the inquiry reports as and when they are completed.
Mumbai, 13th January, 2017: K Raheja Constructions got away with lots of violations in their Horizon Green project in Borivali East. They succeeded in procuring Drainage Completion Certificate (DCC) and Occupation Certificate (OC) in early 2015 without actually constructing drainage. To hoodwink potential flat-buyers and early-bird occupants and emboldened by BMC officials’ complicity, the Rahejas tried to secretly dig a soak-pit in December 2015. The plan was to cover up the lack of a sewage connection by channeling the sludge into a soak pit and pumping it out every month. But this plan backfired when residents of the neighbouring building alerted BMC, who slapped a stop-work notice. But the Rahejas defied the stop work orders, continued the work and completed the soak-pit. So MCGM lodged a police complaint and got an FIR registered against the Rahejas.
Illegal soak pit of Horizon Green building under construction in December 2015
Click here for PHOTOS of Horizon Green’s soak pit.
Click here for PHOTOS of work in progress, defying stop work notice.
Click here for VIDEO of Horizon Green’s soak pit being dug late at night.
MCGM's Stop Work Notice.
Drainage is Horizon Green’s Achilles' heel, because of the building's awkward location on a slope. This project is basically built by over-exploiting the FSI of the existing “Raheja Green” layout plan, and because of this, the building suffers from major shortcomings, including lack of recreation ground, shortage of sufficient parking and mandatory open spaces, and, last but not least, huge hurdles in drainage disposal. Between 2006 and 2015, many mutually-contradictory drainage plans proposed by Rahejas were approved by BMC officials without verifying whether the hilly terrain and existing drainage lines supported these plans. The sewagedirections drastically changed no less than five times. In 2010, 2012 and 2015, the Rahejas planned three different uphill routes for drainage and the BMC officials blindly nodded!
The Rahejas claim that DCC issued in Feb 2015 was for joining the sewage into common drainage of the private layout downhill as against a proposal for flowing the drainage directly uphill and out of the layout, submitted in 2012.
The drainage lines finally laid in December 2015 went uphill to the adjoining DP road (shown below), and joined a municipal sewer outside the neighbouring TCS office building. But this sewage connection (which is not shown in any proposed or approved plan) isn't working because of improper gradient.
The site on the DP road where Horizon Green's drainage was connected to municipal sewage. Improper gradient prevents Horizon Green's water and sludge from flowing into the municipal sewer.
So the Rahejas built a soak-pit to disguise Horizon Green’s lack of proper sewage, in order to sell the flats to unwary buyers.
Although the cover-up failed and the scam is out in the open, a few buyers have already become bakras. They are angry and may soon look for legal remedies against the builder. Indeed, the newly enacted Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) may prove to be the most appropriate forum for challenging Horizon Green’s fraudulently-acquired Occupation Certificate and seeking compensation.