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RTI Activist Sulaiman Bhimani Puts RNA Builder’s Illegal Activities Under Human Rights Scanner

10 May 2011 No Comment

Mumbai: They say every dog has its day. The day of builder Anil Agarwal appears to be coming to an end. After cutting sweetheart deals with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for a decade, the big builder was finally served a stop-work notice after RTI Activist Sulaiman Bhimani blew the whistle. MMRDA was forced to face the uncomfortable fact that the builder had permission for 18 floors, but was booking flats on a 44-storeyed tower, and building a massive parking basement without any permission: http://tinyurl.com/RNA-Stop-Work

And, if this was not enough, Maharashtra Human-Rights Commission served a notice in response to Bhimani’s complaint: http://tinyurl.com/RNA-Human-Rights-Notice

What sort of human rights violations did the builder commit, you may ask?  Profiteering by building 2,600 sub-human, poorly-ventilated tenements in Oshiwara for slumdwellers and project affected people (PAPs). Even worse, creating a permanent health-hazard by building the water-supply of lakhs of people cheek-by-jowl with their sewage, separated only by a cement wall. See these photos: http://tinyurl.com/RNA-Oshiwara

The cozy relationship of Anil Agarwal (RNA Corp and Skyline Construction Co) with MMRDA dates back to 2002-03 and beyond. Bhimani, who visits MMRDA several times a week, has collected a huge pile of papers that testifies to a special relationship. Armed with this evidence, Bhimani has held several meetings with top level MMRDA officials, including Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana, written to the Chief Minister, the Human Rights Commission and many others. Mr Asthana appears determined to clean up the mess left behind by his predecessors T Chandrashekhar and Ratnakar Gaikwad (who is now the State Chief Secretary).

Chief Minister Prithivaraj Chavan also seems convinced that MMRDA’s stables need a thorough cleaning, and recently asked MMRDA to pull out of public housing: http://tinyurl.com/Prithviraj-cries-halt

Details of Irregularities between MMRDA and RNA Corp’s Anil Agarwal:

1)      Proposals, Notices, Certificates without dates and inward numbers: Dozens of proposals, notices, certificates, etc. given over a span of several years by Anil Agarwal, his Civil Engineer and Architect, for the Rehab project at Oshiwara are without any dates. A majority of them don’t even have an inward stamp indicating inward number and date. This leaves all these documents open to manipulation such as change of specifications, post-dating, pre-dating etc. Here are a few of the many specimens Bhimani found in the MMRDA files: http://tinyurl.com/RNA-MMRDA-Undated

2)      On at least two occasions, in 2003 and 2009, Intimation of Approval (IOA) and Commencement Certificate (CC) were issued on the same day! Intimation of Approval (IOA) is a document that lists numerous conditions to be fulfilled before commencement of work. It requires the builder to gather various NOCs and approvals from MCGM, Chief Fire Officer and other authorities, and to fulfill some conditions at the building site. Many of these conditions need to be physically verified on site by MMRDA’s people. Only after these verifications can a Commencement Certificate (CC) rightly be issued. Normally, it takes a builder several months to comply with the conditions of the IOA and then get a CC. But, to the great envy of other builders and architects, RNA manages to get it on the same day… twice!

IOA-CC dated 4th July 2003: http://tinyurl.com/RNA-Oshiwara-IOA-CC

IOA-CC dated 5th August 2009: http://tinyurl.com/RNA-approvals

In the latter IOA and CC, date of the proposal letter and date of submission of this letter — are intentionally not mentioned. Those spaces are left blank. This suggests that IOA and CC were issued to Mr Agarwal without his having submitted a proposal letter. Bhimani, who has been scouring the files at MMRDA, has not yet come across this document.

3)      Question: Why are the documents not dated? Answer: Dates tell many tales. Take for example the certificate from the project management consultant Structwel Engineers & Consultants Pvt Ltd http://tinyurl.com/Project-Consultants-Certificat

This certificate, dated 25th April 2005, stated that all Rehab buildings R1 to R9, R11, R12 and R13 were totally complete in all respects. But if we compare the date of the Commencement Certificate for buildings R1 to R5 (4th July 2003) with this date i.e. 25th April, we see that R1 to R5 were completed in far less than 21 months, and the rest of the buildings, which would have got their Commencement Certificate at a later date, in even less time – not enough time for the concrete to cure.  All these Rehab buildings are 8-storeyed (ground-plus-7) structures, and it takes at least three months to prepare the foundation, and over 28 days per floor/slab to properly cast and cure the concrete. By completing these buildings in a tearing hurry, the builder has compromised the compressive strength of the concrete, and the buildings, with 2,600 lower-income-group tenements, are doomed to prematurely collapse.  Some are showing cracks already!

4)      False claims. The project management consultant’s certificate stated that the drainage work was done using PVC (i.e. plastic) pipes. Contradicting this, the certified plumber’s certificate said that the drainage work was done using A.C (cement) pipes. See this: http://tinyurl.com/Plumbers-Certificate

The project management consultant’s claim that the stormwater drains were complete were contradicted in July 2007 by this BMC certificate: http://tinyurl.com/BMC-SWD-partially-complete

The claim that street lights were complete were rubbished last year by this MMRDA report on 32 sites, and BMC’s subsequent inspection: http://tinyurl.com/MMRDA-to-MCGM

BMC reckoned that it would take nothing short of Rs 20 crore to finish off the incomplete works that RNA Corp had left behind at the Rehab buildings of Oshiwara.

For MORE DOCUMENTS AND DETAILS, contact Sulaiman Bhimani 93236 42081  designerstouch11@gmail.com

FOOTNOTE: Former Metropolitan Commissioner T Chandrashekhar is facing several corruption charges, and it is not only for his role in the Adarsh scam. See this:

 

 

 

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