In BBMP's Book, Only 62 Buildings in City Are Weak
By Ashwini M Sripad | Published: 28th November 2013 08:01 AM |
In four months, three buildings have crashed and claimed 11 lives, but the BBMP is only now waking up to the problem of dangerously weak constructions.
For a city sprawl of 840 sqkm, the BBMP has so far listed only 62 buildings that could cause loss of life and limb. It has issued notices to 41 of them, and bulldozed seven.
Out of the 62 buildings, 48 are in core Bangalore areas (South, East and West zones). Official sources say engineers do little to identify such buildings. “They are actually colluding with the owners,” a senior BBMP official said.
However, BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana has a different story to tell. “In many cases, it is the occupants who resist demolitions,” he said. Referring to the residential building that collapsed in Adugodi on Tuesday, he said the BBMP had served notices to the occupants. “But they got a stay order,” he said. Five people died when the building came crashing down.
Lakshminarayana said he had instructed his ward engineers to conduct a survey of dilapidated buildings. “I have sent another circular. They will tell the owners to reconstruct or demolish such buildings,” he said.
The BBMP wants citizens to alert it to weak buildings. According to Chowde Gowda, BBMP’s additional director of town planning, citizens should be careful about such buildings, especially multi-storey ones. “All they need to do is give us the location. Our people will go there and suggest repairs or demolition,” he said.
The BBMP is contemplating levying heavy fines on owners who ignore weak building concerns. Officials say such buildings are not just a threat to their occupants, but also to neighbours. “We are now considering a penalty of `1 lakh or more,” said an official source.
According to urban issues expert V Ravichandar, it is difficult to gauge the life of a building as it is the quality of material that determines its strength.
He suggests buildings constructed before 1960 be certified by a competent non-government authority.
“The government should vest the power to issue certificates in a competent authority, like the Karnataka State Civil Engineers Association, and they should be make accountable,” he said.
“If a government agency is given the power, corruption could make it easy for owners to get certificates,”he added.