Held accountable for signboard crash incident

Action taken against staff for ‘dereliction of duties’
Blatant violation of land rule by the building owner

HYDERABAD: Heads have begin to roll in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) on Friday as the administration decided to hold its staff accountable for last week’s tragic incident of a signboard crash from atop a super market killing a youngster at I.S. Sadan.

GHMC Commissioner and Special Officer C.V.S.K. Sarma had issued orders suspending three officials of the Town Planning section of Circle one – Assistant City Planner-I Mohd. Farooq, Section Officer Afzal Ali and ‘Munshi’ Srinivas for “dereliction of their duties” and not taking appropriate action against blatant violation of land use by the building owner.

Permission for the building which housed the supermarket was taken for stilt plus five floors residential flats in 2005. But, during the construction itself the plan was changed and the building was converted into a commercial complex with a cellar too dug up for the purpose. The Town Planning staff, as usual, was prompt in issuing notices to the builder when they noticed the deviation.

Misusing court orders

This prompted the builder to approach the city court and obtain a ‘status quo’ order. Misusing the court orders, the builder went on to complete the construction totally converting it into a commercial building and enabling a private supermarket to function. When the GHMC decided to seal the building on grounds of ‘public safety’ following the signboard crash, senior officials had no clue that there was no pending case at all!

Strict action

GHMC Additional Commissioner (Planning & Projects) K. Dhananjaya Reddy said strict action against the staff was necessitated as it was noticed that the city court had dismissed the case last year itself. Yet neither any action was initiated nor was the matter informed to the higher authorities. These facts came to light when a departmental enquiry was ordered into case.