Mumbai building collapse: Cement quality to be tested

Mumbai building collapse: Cement quality to be tested

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wants to check if cement of substandard quality was used to construct Altaf Mansion, the building which came up in the early 1980s in Mumbai. Ten people were killed after Altaf Mansion collapsed on June 10 evening. Samples of debris collected from the site will be sent to a laboratory for analysis, said civic sources who claimed that the quality of the material can be determined by lab tests despite the passage of time.

The reason that civic officials are keen to check the quality of construction material is that Altaf Mansion was built around the time a cement scam broke out in Maharashtra. On June 11, senior civic officials said it appeared that unauthorised alterations were made to the structure, possibly damaging its load-bearing pillars and beams. A senior official said that the early '80s had seen rationing of cement, leading to the material being sold in black. In those days, politicos and babus had quotas to allocate cement. This led to black-marketing and quality control went for a toss, said the official. Obviously, buildings constructed at that time are expected to be weaker, the official expressed his view. The scam had led to the resignation of then Congress chief minister AR Antulay who was accused of using his position to allot more than his quota of cement to builders.

Once debris at the site of the building crash is cleared, municipal officials will assess vital parts of the building's foundation to see if residents had tampered with beams and foundation pillars of the structure while carrying out renovation. Civic officials from the building proposals department said that Altaf Manzil wasn't first issued an occupancy certificate in 1982 after its construction was completed.

Another occupancy certificate was issued in 1985 for the second phase of the residential construction.

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