VIJAYAWADA: Even as the city has received a couple of good spells of rain in the last few days as the South-West monsoon has become active over the state, the dilapidated structures, which are ready to crumble anytime, are posing a grave threat to the citizens.
Realising the problem posed by the decrepit buildings, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) took up a demolition drive in right earnest last year. However, the exercise had come to an abrupt end owing to staff shortage due to their participation in the Samaikyandhra agitation and funds crunch.
Following the directions of the then director of town and country planning P Thimma Reddy in July last, the VMC officials conducted a survey and inspected each and every dilapidated structure. Subsequently, notices were issued to the owners to demolish the buildings.
The VMC had identified 158 buildings as ‘old structures’ in which at least 200 families were residing and raZed 11 of them to the ground after the owners failed to respond to the notices.
According to VMC assistant city planner V Suneetha, most of the structures are two-storeyed buildings and are located in One Town area and Suryaraopet. During a visit to some of the old buildings, Express found that tenants are unaware of the notices issued by VMC. Most of them claimed that the owners are reluctant to carry out repairs.
M Krishna Murthy, a resident of Governorpet, said that he had asked the owners to carry out repair works as the building was in poor condition. “Our complaints are always ignored,” he added.
According to VMC city planner S Chakrapani, notices are issued to the owners of dilapidated buildings every year before the start of monsoon, asking them to take up repair works. However, the owners obtain stay orders seeking time for repairs.
He said municipal executive engineers will prepare a report basing on the material used and strength of the building walls. Certain chemical components will be put on the building walls to determine the strength of the building and a report will be prepared accordingly.
One of the alarming facts is that VMC does not have any equipment to conduct these tests. “We borrow laboratory equipment from engineering colleges and industries.” Chakrapani added.
Speaking on the main challenges faced in demolishing old buildings, he said, disputes between owners and tenants was one of the main problem while usage of cheap quality iron and wooden pillars is the other.
“We had requested the commissioner to provide quality technical staff to improve the standards of the Planning Department,” he concluded.