Friday, July 1, 2011

Death in lift accident

AHMEDABAD: Just when he was about to see his son get settled in life with a fat-salaried job, he lost him in a bizarre elevator accident. Seven years after the tragic incident, Nalin Acharya has won a case against the builder and lift maintenance contractor for providing with the faulty elevator that led to the death of his 22-year-old son Hardik.

Acharya now wants to use the Rs 33.6 lakh that he got as compensation to set up an organization that'll create awareness among residents regarding 'safety features' that builders ought to provide in elevators to prevent any such incidents.

On September 19, 2004, standing on the ninth floor of his residence in Akshardham Flats, Shahibaug, Hardik looked through the huge window on the lift's landing-wooden door to check for the elevator. Suddenly the lift came down from the 10{+t}{+h} floor and crushed his head. Hardik was a final year engineering student at Nirma University and had got a Rs 6 lakh per annum job with Tata Consultancy Services.

The Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ahmedabad, found the builder, chairman of the housing society and the agency which had the annual contract of lift guilty of not providing an elevator as per Gujarat Lifts and Escalators Act, 2000 and Rules-2001. They have been ordered to jointly 'pay the bereaved family' Rs. 33.60 lakh with 9 per cent interest from the date of the accident.

"I can't get my son back but others should not lose their family members the way I have. Once I get the compensation money I will use it to work towards making elevators in Ahmedabad safe by making residents aware of the provisions under the act for 'proper lifts in apartments'," said Acharya, who has business of manufacturing industrial weighing instruments. Acharya is considering creating a corpus to help others fight legal battles against builders.

As per the norms, the window on lift door has to be of 5"x9" size, fitted with a metal grill and toughened glass. But in this case it was 7.5"x9.5", where a human head could easily fit and there wasn't any glass or grill fitted.

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