BENGALURU: Demolition of a five-storey paying guest building at Ashwathnagar, near Marathahalli bridge, has raised questions on the regulation, quality and safety of construction projects in the city.
The authorities took up demolition work on Friday after it was noticed that the hostel building had shifted slightly to its left, on Thursday evening. The process will continue over the next two or three days.
On Thursday night, residents of the PG along with those in five adjacent buildings evacuated their respective residences. Sudhakar, a resident of the adjacent buildings, said that tenants of the demolished building had initially waited nearby, but eventually made alternative arrangements for their stay.
Several instances of buildings tilting in this manner have occurred in the past too. In February this year, a five-storey under-construction building collapsed in Kasavanahalli, leaving four people dead and 15 injured.
BBMP’s Chief Engineer for East Zone B S Prasad said that for newly-constructed buildings, both the architect and builder have to provide a signed affidavit, saying they are responsible for the quality and safety of the building. For already existing buildings, consultants deployed by the BBMP will inspect it and submit a report on its structural stability. “If the building is beyond a certain age, we notify it as ‘dilapidated’ and provide an order for demolition,” Prasad said.
However, it is the building owner who should initiate such inspections. They are not taken up by the corporation.
Architect Naresh Narasimhan said a certificate for structural stability of any structure is supposed to be issued by an engineer certified by the city corporation. “I don’t think people are even following the sanctioned plans, but building whatever they like. I think BBMP is short-staffed, so they are not able to regulate this issue,” he said.
Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) does have such a provision, but only for major buildings, said engineer member B S Shivakumar.
Cops arrest building owner, contractor
The owner of the five-storey men’s paying guest building that tilted at Ashwathnagar, Marathahalli, on Thursday evening was arrested by HAL police. Shivaprasad, 35, the building owner, was booked under IPC Section 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others). Meanwhile, police reportedly detained the building contractor, Venkatesh. “Preliminary probe established that the building foundation had sunk about three inches below the ground, which led to the slight tilt. It is due to substandard work by the contractor,” police added.
‘BBMP staffers demolish part of adjacent building’
The demolition work, however, is said to have caused trouble to neighbours. It is alleged that BBMP officials partially demolished a building next to the PG centre, while operating an earthmover. Manoj Pillai, a member of the house, alleged that the building compound, one room and a toilet were demolished “without any consultation” with the family. “BBMP officials who were at the spot, did not even bother to listen. They asked us to file a complaint against them when we tried to explain the situation. Besides, they did not even assure us that they would reconstruct the demolished part,” Pillai said.