The Opposition leader in the AMC has alleged that the fourth floor of Shrey Hospital was illegally constructed in violation of norms.
The allegations came after an early morning fire on Thursday in the ICU of Shrey Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 centre, left 8 COVID-19 patients dead.
Dinesh Sharma, the Leader of Opposition, in the AMC said that the ICU was on the fourth floor and this floor was illegally constructed.
He said the civic body was so keen to earn money that it turned a blind eye to illegal construction, then extracted an impact fee for the said illegal construction and legalised it.
He said this turned out to be detrimental for the patients of the hospital. “The hospital built an additional floor after the original plan for the hospital was passed in 1996. The ICU was operational on this floor,” said Sharma.
“The margin area that is to be left empty had a canteen on the same,” he said. Sharma said all the illegal constructions and usage of space was legalised through the Impact Fee Legislation in 2016.
Sharma said, however, the civic body is mum on how many notices it issued against the illegal construction at Shrey Hospital and if it made any efforts to bring down the structure between 1996 and 2016. He said the civic body was, as usual, trying to bolt the door once the horse had left the barn.
The Impact Fee Regulation
Sharma said as of now the civic body has sealed the hospital. “But within a week everything will be back to work as usual and everyone will forget until the next tragedy happens,” said Sharma.
He said the Impact Fee Regulation was brought before the 2012 elections just to win the polls. Applications to regularise 2.43 lakh illegal construction was received of which 1.26 lakh applications were accepted and illegal constructions regularised.
“A decision to get short-term gains in politics has proved very expensive for the citizens in the long-term,” said Sharma. He said a similar incident happened in a tire shop in Vastrapur where flammable material was illegally stored. He said that the building too had regularised its illegal constructions through impact fee.
Who is to be blamed?
“The AMC puts up a list of 309 buildings that lack NOC on its website and washes its hands off any further responsibility,” said Sharma.
He said the AMC does not bother to take any action after putting up the list. “If a building delay renewing fire NOC even by a day, it should be sealed and emergency supplies cut off,” said Sharma.
He said Shrey Hospital had been functioning without a NOC for four months. He called for the resignation of the mayor and standing committee chairman. He said not just the hospital, even AMC official should be booked for negligence.
Standing Committee chairman Amul Bhatt accused the Congress of exploiting a tragedy for political gains. He said the government has already announced a compensation for the kin of the deceased. Bhatt said as of now no irregularity on the part of AMC officials has emerged and if it does action will be taken against them.