Goa collapse: Deputy Town Planner held; builders still missing

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Panaji, Jan 7:  A senior town and country planning officer has been arrested in connection with the Canacona building collapse in Goa, which has left 17 dead and several others injured.

Deputy Town Planner Prakash Bandodkar was arrested last night, while Municipal Engineer Ajay Desai is still missing, Superintendent of Police Shekhar Prabhudesai said.

The Goa Police has registered an FIR against several persons, including government officers who were allegedly involved in clearing this controversial five-storey project comprising 80 flats. Three directors-- Jaideep Saigal, Pradeepsingh Birring and Vishwas Desai--of a property firm (Bharat Realtors and Developers), which was constructing the structure have also been booked, but they are still untraceable, police said.

Bandodkar was then the Deputy Town Planner of Canacona when the under-construction building was approved in 2010. State Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had told reporters yesterday that the deputy town planner had sanctioned the building without referring the matter to higher-ups in Panaji, which is mandatory as per the law.

The building which collapsed on Saturday afternoon was amongst three other structures, which was granted occupancy certificate (OC) by local authorities, without obtaining Structural Stability Certificate on December 26 last year, days before it collapsed.

Yesterday, the state government had stopped rescue operations at site of the building collapse after two adjacent buildings tilted precariously. It had also formed a three-member committee headed by a retired IAS officer to probe the incident. According to rescuers, over a dozen people are still feared trapped in the debris.


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