The four-member SIT was set up after the August 31 order of the court to probe – as the court had observed – collusion between officials of the Noida Authority and Supertech in allowing the construction of the twin towers and fix responsibility.
The legal battle against the twin towers was fought by the Emerald Court RWA. Rajesh Rana, president of the Emerald Court RWA and an Aster 2 resident, said, “The SIT members asked us what the distance is between Aster 2 and the twin towers. We told them it was not more than 9 metres. They spent some more time on the compound and strolled around the building before leaving.”
The SIT reached the site at 8.40am on Thursday and was accompanied by senior officers of the Noida Authority. The group spent 20 minutes at Aster 2 – the building closest to the twin towers and most affected by their construction – to speak to some of its residents. While three members of the SIT, including its head Sanjiv Mittal, left Noida after breakfast, chief town and country planner Anoop Srivastava has stayed on to gather further details.
Sources said Srivastava has been tasked with the most important part of the probe, which is fault-finding. The general manager of Noida Authority’s planning division and other officials assisted Srivastava with information through Friday.
Though Srivastava well-versed with the nuances of planning and urban development in UP, rules and regulations and building bylaws followed in Noida are different it is an area that is notified under the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act.
The planning department of Noida Authority has two sections – one dealing with overall planning, zoning and urban development and the other, called building cell, that approves maps, floor area ratio and height of the buildings.
Sources said Srivastava had sought building plans of three more group housing projects that had been revised in November 2009 and March 2012, around the same time when approvals were given to raise the height of the twin towers.
“The idea is to see if the same procedure was followed in all building plans that had been approved during that period or some exceptional order or changes were made while approving the plans of Apex and Ceyane (the twin towers),” said a Noida Authority source.
Sources said the SIT had communicated to the chief minister’s office that the team, originally given seven days, requires more time to compile its report and has to verify some aspects. The SIT, according to sources, is expected to submit its report next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Board meetings cancelled: The board meeting of the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority and Noida Authority that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday have been deferred till further notice. Since Mittal is also the chairman of both authorities, the board meetings have been deferred till further notice. The dates will be announced after the SIT submits its probe report.
RWA to hire an engineer: The Emerald Court RWA will hire a civil engineer for advice on the way forward. The engineer will be tasked with coordinating with the Noida Authority and the agency appointed to bring down the twin towers. The RWA wants an understanding of the protocols that are to be followed to ensure safety of residents before the demolition happens.