The institution of Engineers (IEI), Maharashtra, and the Practising Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Association (PEATA) look forward to decreasing accident like Wadala Wall collapse. IEI, PEATA decided to maintain the list of geotechnical engineers with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The decision will be taken in the meeting which is due on 3rd July. This will help in building accountability.
A senior BMC official from the Building Proposals Department said, “There is no need to register geotechnical engineers. Their job is only to survey the soil and the sub-strata and based on their report, the structural engineer prepares the design. So the work of structural engineers is more important.” They also trying to involved two organizations for registration of geotechnical engineers across the country.
The IEI and PEATA had pushed for registering geotechnical engineers earlier as well. Dr Himanshu Raje, chairman of structural division, PEATA and honorary secretary for Maharashtra Centre, IEI said, “When the BMC was working on the new Development Plan (DP), PEATA had suggested that they need to begin licensing geotechnical engineers as well, as they are a principal branch of engineering and need to take responsibility for their work. But it seems that BMC did not want to increase licensing and the demand was not considered. But in light of this incident, PEATA and IEI will push for their licensing.”
According to experts, the geotechnical engineer should be held responsible during incidents like the collapse at Wadala as they are the ones who design the underground shore piling. But as they are not registered with the civic body, the structural engineer is held accountable for mishaps.
While talking to Indian Express, one of the geotechnical engineers without mentioning his name said, “in other developed countries are registered and they have an association. But they are not registered in any Indian cities. While they make the designs, they are not responsible for it. Since they are not given importance in a project, they are also paid less. Registering them will increase their importance and will help them get better pay.”
Prasad Zantye, a geotechnical engineer said, “In 2001 the tremors of the Bhuj earthquake were felt in Mumbai as well. After that, soil investigation was made compulsory for obtaining the Commencement Certificate (CC). Now they should take up registration of geotechnical engineers and not wait for another incident.”
Prasad also clarified the reason behind the Wadala Wall Collapse. He said, “Wadala was a result of workmanship failure and not a design failure. The telltale signs of the incident were seen much before, and that is why the labour camp was shifted. Otherwise, there would have been a major loss of life. So not only the engineers but also the contractors who do the work need to be registered, as they execute the designs made by the engineers.”