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Use Kotla at own risk: MCD

Use Kotla at own risk: MCD
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In what raises questions about structural safety of Ferozeshah Kotla stadium, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, had, at least on two occasions, granted permission to Delhi and District Cricket Association to hold international matches on the ground at ‘their own risk’. The MCD officers had also asked the DDCA to furnish an undertaking that the civic body would not be responsible for any untoward incident when occupancy lies with the cricket association, show replies to RTI petitions.

One such certificate was issued on 10 October  2008 ahead of third test between India and Australia on 29 October 2008 while another one was issued on 4 April  2012 for IPL.

RTI applicants Subhash Agrawal and Lok Sabha MP Kirti Azad have underlined the safety issue at the cricket ground as relating to ‘life and liberty’.

In the matters of ‘life and liberty’, the information should be provided within 48 hours. When the information was not provided by MCD, the matter reached Central Information Commission which heard it on priority basis and ordered disclosure of all the information.

After perusal of records related to Occupancy Certificates issued to DDCA, Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu said, ‘on at least two occasions, the Deputy Commissioner (City Zone) and the Assistant Engineer (Bldg) have noted that permission may be granted to DDCA to hold international matches at their own risk and cost subject to obtaining NOC from Chief Fire Officer, Delhi and that DDCA shall be required to furnish an undertaking that MCD shall not be liable for any untoward incident during the said period.’

The MCD has issued provisional certificate on nine occasions to DDCA pending the issue of final certificate during 2008-13, she said.

Sandhu observed in her order that barring the last four occasion–6 January, 4 April and 17 April in 2012 and 6 January  2013–when the PoCs were given on the basis of order of the Delhi High Court, all other PoCs were issued after receiving the Completion certificate file dated 14 July 2008 as well as structural safety certificate, fire safety certificate and NOC from the Assistant Electrical inspector.

‘The information provided by the CPIO also reflects the concern of the officials of the MCD regarding the safety aspect and more than once they have recommended that the Provisional Occupancy Certificate not be issued in the absence of the required documents,’ Sandhu said.

She said notings made by MCD officials also reveal that there is a issue of huge outstanding of property tax from the DDCA (Rs 8.67 crore as on 4 January  2013) and the officials had recommended against issued PoC on this basis.

‘Further it has been pointed out by the Assistant Engineer (B) HQ that DUAC has observed in their letter addressed to DDA with copy marked to the MCD that ‘the DDA should not grant the PoC which is in the violation of the building bye laws and Master plan provisions.’...it is also noted by Assistant Engineer (bldg) Central Zone that there is no provision for issuing provisional occupancy certificate as per Building Bye Laws, 1983,’ she said.

Sandhu said subject matter of the RTI application is ‘without doubt a matter of larger public interest’.

‘Cricket and other sports enthusiasts flock to the aforementioned cricket grounds and it is in the interest of good governance and accountability to the public, which is at the very heart of the RTI Act, that the agencies charged with the responsibility of maintaining the highest standards of safety at venues such as the Ferozeshah Kotla Cricket grounds discharge their duties to the fullest,’ she said.
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