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Builder of killer tower still elusive

Friday, October 21, 2011
By Suresh Golani

Cops yet to ascertain identity of the actual owner of the construction company

Sleuths of the Navghar police are yet to arrest the owner of Ashish Estate and Properties Limited – the developers of the 14-storey Siddhi Vinayak tower in Mira Road, where seven construction workers fell to their death while working at the top floor, after the sudden collapse of the bamboo scaffolds.

The workers were painting the exterior of the newly-constructed tower in Ramdev Park, when the weak and frail bamboo scaffolds came crashing down, while three workers died on the spot, three others died while undergoing treatment at Umrao Hospital in Mira Road. Although, a case under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) was registered against the construction company, the police are yet to identify its owner.

Exploiting the loopholes of the system the builder has conveniently let the labour contractor, Niresh Masliya and the site supervisor Basavraj Dhanappa, to take the fall. Both were arrested and released on bail.

“The Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act is toothless and has not been used against a single builder or developer when a construction worker has died on site.

All cases for these deaths have been registered against contractors, who supply labour for these constructions.” Alleges BJP corporator, Om Prakash Agarwal, adding that the wealthy builder hands out a meagre compensation to the family of the victims and continues with his nefarious operation with the same ease and convenience.

Interestingly, despite standing instructions issued by the State Labour Minister Rajendra Gavit, to book the accused builder, the police and the civic officials are dragging their feet on the issue. While the police claims that they are yet to get documents related to the property from the civic body that would help ascertain the identity of the owner, civic officials said that all the papers have been handed over to the investigating agency, exposing the double standards and the ongoing pass-the-buck game to protect the builder at the cost of the lives of the innocent construction workers.

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