13th Dec, 2017
THANE: The slab collapse at Gadkari Rangayatan auditorium last week has once again exposed the inferior quality of maintenance work carried out by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), which has shelled out crores of taxpayers' money to renovate the facility, alleged local activists.
The collapse of a portion of the slab, which barely missed children viewing a drama last week, has rendered the auditorium shut for repairs for nearly a month.
"The ceiling was last repaired in 1998 and we need to undertake the repairs which will take a few more days to go," said a civic official.
Last April, Kashinath Ghanekar auditorium also witnessed a similar mishap when hundreds of visitors attending a private function had a narrow escape after a major part of the false ceiling collapsed around midnight. Around 100 square feet of the false ceiling beneath the first floor gallery came off and crashed into the seats below on the viewer's aisle. No injuries were reported.
It may be noted that the civic body has spent a whopping amount over the last three years towards the annual upkeep of the auditoriums, raising questions over the quality of work and the money spent on paying the contractors.
As per the civic budget books, Rs 15.85 crore was collectively spent for expenses, including maintenance and other aspects of operating Gadkari Rangayatan and Kashinath Ghanekar auditoriums between 2014 and 2016. The expenses are done annually keeping the facility shut for nearly a month, which activists pointed out is much less in terms of returns that these facilities earn for the TMC. The two facilities have collectively earned barely Rs 8 crore over the same period leading to a deficit for the civic body.
"The TMC spends a huge amount of public money on the upkeep of these facilities, but it has still led to the Thursday mishap. There needs to be a detailed inquiry to be done by the municipal commissioner into these incidents, which not only risk the lives of patrons, but also puncture the corporation treasury," said activist Sanjeev Datta. Meanwhile, officials justified the repairs and said these facilities are not profit-making initiatives.
The TMC spends a huge amount of public money on the upkeep of these facilities, but it has still led to the Thursday mishap. A detailed inquiry needs to be made by the civic chief into these incidents, which not only risk the lives of patrons, but also puncture the corporation treasury
Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com