Building collapse in Bengaluru: Money deals cover up violations

Builders, engineers and corporators work hand in glove, BBMP chief proposes three-month jail for erring officials, experts say merely passing rules is not enough.

Published: 07th October 2016 02:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th October 2016 06:51 AM   |  A+A-


Rescue and NDRF personnel clear the debris at the site where the building collapsed in Bellandur on Wednesday | pushkar v

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  Shell out a minimum of `2 lakh to grease palms if a building is being constructed in violation of the BBMP-approved plan. The authorities will happily look away. This is the sorry state of affairs across the city.
When Express spoke to a few builders, it was learnt that engineers and corporators work hand in glove. In case of a commercial building, one has to pay `4-`5 lakh per floor. For a residential building, it is `2-`3 lakh.

A well-known builder said, “Although the BBMP engineer is aware that a builder is constructing a floor without sanction, he will wait till the construction is irreversible and then inspect the site. He will tell the owner that a notice for violations will be served and the building will be demolished. The owner would get in touch with an influential person who knows the engineer. This person would negotiate a price and work will continue.”

Another builder said, “Sometimes the MLA and the corporator will guide you to pay some amount. The bribe is shared by all, including the engineer and corporator.”

BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad, however, assured that they are taking precautions.  He has proposed amendment to the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act to bring in a clause for three months’ imprisonment for BBMP officers who connive to allow irregularities.

He said, “Though the KMC Act says that any official not performing should be punished, there is no clarity on the punishment. We will soon amend a clause where three months imprisonment will be applicable.
Apart from suspending the two BBMP officers and filing a criminal case against the builder, we have asked the ward engineers to inspect all the under construction buildings and submit a report in 7-10 days.”

But poor quality of materials used remains a concern. The Chairman of Centre for Infrastructure Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning, Indian Institute of Science, J M Chandra Kishen said, “The foundation design in this case was done for ground floor plus two floors. The building could not take the extra load. Materials used might be substandard.”

Interestingly, there is no way of monitoring if rules are followed. Urban expert Ashwin Mahesh said, “What are the agencies doing to ensure compliance with the law? Merely passing rules is insufficient. If the ward engineers have not performed their duty, then the joint commissioner should ask for answers. There is no system of monitoring.”

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