Armors Builder furnishes list of 133 properties to High Court

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Jul 2017 10:19:34

Staff Reporter,

NMC blames builder for violation of DCR

Under fire for deaths of two tiny tots due to electrocution from high tension line situated very near to residential units to township constructed by M/s Armors Builder, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Friday refused to show any leniency. As directed during to submit details of his movable and immovable assets within one week on affidavit, the builder Anand Khobragade furnished a list of 133 properties in the name of firm owned by him and six properties owned by his wife.

The High Court had directed the builder to submit details of bank accounts and all movable and immovable assets owned by his immediate family members and had directed him not to create any third party interest. While complying with the order, the respondent-builder urged the High Court not to attach his properties and claimed that for no reason his properties were being attached.

A division bench consisting of Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Rohit Deo, pulled the respondent-builder and reminded him about loss of two innocent lives. Nagpur Municipal Corporation in its reply squarely blamed the builder for the mess created in the township wherein high tension power line is situated dangerously close to residential units.

MahaTransco, in its detailed affidavit, had stated that it had no role in laying down distribution lines passing through the urban areas and that it was responsibility of power distribution utility (MSEDCL). Other respondents failed to file reply and invited wrath of the High Court.

The next hearing will be held on Tuesday when it is likely to consider the issue of interim compensation and constitution of an expert committee to conduct verification of 148 dangerous sites where high tension line is situated in dangerous proximity to residential units or criss-cross schools posing a grave and permanent danger to residents and small children. This is necessary to fix the responsibility of agency and individuals responsible for such a shocking lapse the High Court had noted while stating that only after receipt of such report, the issue of accountability, relief and preventive remedial measures can be dealt with.

On June 22, the Court took suo motu cognisance of shocking deaths of three kids due to electrocution from high tension line and had issued notice to power utilities, civic agencies and urban development department seeking their response to this shocking lapse. Death of two twins -- Priyansh and Piyush Dhar in Sugatnagar after they accidentally touched the nearby high tension line led to public outroar. Both cute kids were hospitalised but could not survive. The third death at Hingna of a five-year-old boy Swayam Pande had also shocked everyone and badly exposed the existence of high tension lines very near to residential localities exposing the flawed planning process and absolute lack of co-ordination between various agencies. Apart from laying high tension line dangerously near the residential localities to granting sanctions to schools, colleges and localities beneath high tension lines, lot of complicated issues are involved in this matter.

In his well researched petition, Amicus Curiae Shreerang Bhandarkar has pointed out complete lack of co-ordination between power utilities, NMC, NIT and town planning department and how they are trying to blame each other on this issue stating that high tension lines were erected first and area near it was no development zone. There are 24 danger spots where high tension lines pass through and over the schools and buildings.

The PIL has demanded to fix the responsibility for irregularities, illegalities, corrupt practices and dereliction of statutory duties on respondent authorities with a further direction to immediately provide safety and protective devices pertaining to high tension lines and also normal electricity lines installed with insulated material. The PIL also sought to know steps taken pursuant to earlier PILs filed for enforcement of APDRP worth Rs 170 crore and about shifting of street poles and alignment of power distribution lines. The PIL has also demanded immediate conversion of overhead electricity lines into underground cabling and sought a definite time-frame.

Apart from appointing a committee of experts, the PIL also suggested public awareness and visit to educational institutions about the risk posed by nearby high tension lines. The PIL also suggested to remove illegal constructions, hutments, tenements which have mushroomed on the government lands to rule out further accidents of this nature and demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore each for the valuable lives lost.

Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar (Amicus Curiae), Senior Counsel S K Mishra (Armors Builder), Officiating GP Anand Fulzele (State) Adv A M Quazi (MSEDCL), Adv D M Kale (MSETCL), Adv Shridhar Purohit (MERC), Adv Girish Kunte (NIT), Adv Sudhir Puranik (NMC) appeared in the matter.