Panaji: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has alleged that “criminal” collusion between politicians, bureaucrats and builders was one of the major causes behind the collapse last week of the under-construction building in Canacona, which claimed 24 lives.

Demanding an audit by state government of ongoing projects along with the setting up of a judicial commission to hold a probe into the mishap, AAP said that, “The criminal politician -builder-bureaucrat nexus, cutting across party lines, permits structures to come up in flagrant violation of environmental norms and building regulations.”

In a statement here today, AAP national executive member Dinesh Vaghela also alleged that, in connivance with government officials, local politicians had permitted “land sharks to brazenly flout green rules, thus affecting the ecological balance”.

“AAP Goa echoes the voices and pain of the helpless citizens and activists who have consistently and relentlessly waged war against the brazen hill-cutting, filling up of low- lying lands and other violations of environmental norms by unscrupulous builders and real estate sharks in connivance with local politicians and bureaucrats,” he said.

“Successive governments in the state have failed to put in place stringent rules to curb such activities and book guilty builders who have ravaged our peaceful land,” he added.

The under-construction five-storey building in the Chawdi area of Canacona, 70km from here, caved in last Saturday, allegedly due to structural flaws.

Vaghela demanded that the state government immediately order an audit of all such projects which were coming up in Goa.

“Besides bringing all the criminals (responsible for) the collapse to justice by installing a judicial commission, an audit of ongoing projects must be done and, if any violations are noted, the officials and builders concerned should be immediately brought to book,” he added.

Police had arrested Deputy Town Planner Prakash Bandodkar on Monday night in connection with the building collapse.

However, Municipal Engineer Ajay Desai and the three directors of property firm, Bharat Realtors and Developers, the builders of the structure, are still untraceable.

Drawing a parallel, the AAP leader said that a similar “callous and remorseless” attitude of the mining industry over the years had led to peoples’ anger which ultimately shut down the industry completely.

“A similar fate could hit the building and real estate industry… if peoples’ patience is tested again and again,” Vaghela said.

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