Saturday, June 24, 2017


Mumbai Mirror: Mumbai: Saturday, June 24, 2017.
People live in fear of another explosion as govt fails to clear Rs 7-cr proposal to repair buildings damaged in blast.
Blood-soaked and fear writ large on his face, 72-yearold Bhikaji Babadi’s picture in newspapers a day after the boiler blast at a chemical factory in Dombivali on May 26, 2016, had captured the horrors of the disaster vividly.
He may have survived the blast, which left 12 dead and several more injured, but a year on, he continues to live not only with the scars of the injuries caused to him metal and glass particles had pierced his body all over but also with administrative apathy, which has denied him and other victims of the blast the muchpromised compensation.
“Dombivli is going to be next Bhopal. What I have witnessed is scary and I see no better monitoring after the blast at Probace Enterprises. The government has done nothing to mitigate our fear or extend aid to us for the damages we suffered,” said the septuagenarian.
He stays on Manpada Road in Dombivali, around 500 metres from the Probace factory. Though the cost of his immediate medical treatment cost was borne by the government, no help came thereafter.
Rajiv Tiwari, who lives in the same building as Babadi, is also waiting for compensation to repair his damaged ground floor flat, which bore a major brunt of the blast. While huge cracks have appeared on the wall, the main door was left broken, window grilles blown away and cupboards dented.
What’s worse, his four-year-old daughter Gauri is a patient of asthma.
“Every week, I have to take her to the doctor, who has advised me to change the residence because of air pollution. But I can’t afford it. Look at the state of my bedroom and kitchen. I fear the ceiling will collapse, killing us, in the event of another blast,” Tiwari said.
He reminded how Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Industry Minister Subhash Desai and Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde had visited the spot post the blast and promised extend support to the local residents.
But nothing has happened.
Information sought under the Right to Information Act by Raju Nalawade, secretary of the Dombivali Welfare Association, says that the local tehsil office has done 2660 panchanamas of the structural units which that damaged in the blast. The office has also sent a proposal, demanding over Rs 7 crore from the Chief Minister Relief Fund to undertake repair works in the damaged buildings in the vicinity. “But this proposal is yet to get the state government’s clearance,” said a senior official at Thane collectorate office.
Fed up with the failed promises, Bhandup resident Nandakumar Pawar, whose three sisters live in Dombivali, has filed a Writ petition in the Bombay High Court after he came across severe air pollution, chemical leakages and other violations in the area, which is just 45 km from Mumbai city.
Pawar’s case is against the state government, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health, The Directorate of Steam Boilers, The District Collector and The Commissioner of Police.
The petitioner has claimed that while the District Collector, Thane, was entrusted with the task to conduct the inquiry and give a report, the same has not been submitted yet.
Pawar also said that he used RTI Act to get information and was shocked to know that the authorities were well aware of the dangers and had been issuing notices since 2012 to the industries for violations.
According to Pawar, hazardous material is routinely stored on the roads and the industries at Dombivali use coal and timber as fuel for the boilers. As the boilers are installed dangerously, the fuel too is stored along the road outside the industrial unit, points out the petition.
“The notice threatened prosecution, but the prosecution never seems to have taken place because instead of lodging FIRs, the MIDC kept sending only notices,” Pawar said.
The petitioner also demanded closure of illegal industries. When this reporter went to the office of MIDC executive engineer Sanjay Nanaware at Dombivali, he was on the way to MIDC headquarters and refused to respond to questions on phone.
He instead asked this paper to speak to his deputy Manoj Kulkarni, who, however, refused to respond to the allegations raised in the petition.