Ill-fated Moulivakkam building was fit for only four-storeys: SC Panel

The 11-storey under-construction apartment complex collapsed killing 60 people, almost all of them construction workers.

Published: 13th May 2016 04:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2016 04:18 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: The still-standing 11-storeyed Moulivakkam Building at the crash site, where the lives of 61 workers were snuffed out, is fit only to be a four-storey building and is unable to take the weight of the additional floors, according to one of the committee members appointed by the Supreme Court.

The panel submitted a stability report of the building.

L P Singh, general manager (structure), National Building Construction, who was appointed as one of the panel members to submit the report on whether the building was safe or not, said the design was flawed.

“The fault was basically with the design and the size of the columns. It was designed such that the building couldn’t take the weight beyond four floors,” said Singh. The report submitted by Singh and IIT Delhi assistant professor Shasank Bishnoi sealed the fate of the building as the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered demolition of the building based on the panel report.

The Supreme Court formed the committee on March 18 after hearing an appeal by Tamil Nadu Government against the Madras High Court’s order which quashed the Kancheepuram collector’s directive to demolish the 11-storey building at Moulivakkam built by Prime Sristi Housing Private Limited.

On June 28, 2014, a 11-storey under-construction apartment complex by Prime Sristi Housing Private Limited collapsed, killing 60 people, almost all of them construction workers.

Another block at the same site was ordered to be demolished by the Kancheepuram collector after an enquiry by the State Government found that this structure was also unsafe.

But the Madras High Court on November 26, 2015 quashed the district collector’s directive citing procedural violations in issuing the order. Tamil Nadu has appealed against the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Kancheepuram Collectorate officials have welcomed the order. “Now it is up to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority(CMDA) to demolish the building,” a senior official told Express.

The order to demolish the building had elicited mixed reaction from the buyers. “We welcome the Supreme Court decision which highlighted our stand that the design of the building was faulty but we also want the government and the courts to understand our plight,” said Ratna Mishra, who had bought a flat in the ill-fated building that collapsed.

“I bought the flat for `45 lakh and am currently paying an EMI of `53,000 for a flat that is non-existent. If everything had gone well, we would have occupied the flat in 2014,” said Ratna.

Anirudh, a manager (legal) with a multinational company, who owns a flat in the building which has been slated for demolishion, says the demolition comes as a big relief to flat buyers. “We were actually worried about the fate of the building as it was an unsafe structure. Now as the Supreme court itself has called it unsafe and ordered it to be pulled down, we feel it has opened a can of worms against the builder, who is facing cases in consumer courts and other fora,” said Anirudh.

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