BENGALURU: BBMP officials on Thursday started demolishing the five-storeyed building in Hebbal-Kempapura which began to tilt after a borewell was dug adjacent to it. The demolition began after 150 residents were evacuated from 35 buildings in the vicinity. BBMP Commissioner BH Anil Kumar, Mayor M Goutham Kumar and Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao visited the site and inspected the safety and security measures.
The demolition is being done manually because most of the buildings in G Ramaiah Layout, a revenue layout, have not maintained any setback (buffer gap between two buildings) and using machines could damage other structures.The locals were shifted to Amruthahalli Government School, shelter homes and government hospitals, and will have to remain there until the structure is demolished and the debris cleared.
Ravi Kumar Surpur, zonal commissioner, BBMP, Yelahanka, told TNIE that the demolition would be done layer by layer, as the building is tilting. The exercise is likely to take 15 days and would cost Rs 8-10 lakh, which will be recovered from the owner of the neighbouring plot, because of whom the structure was damaged. He added that while laying the foundation, manual labour is deployed. But in this case, the owner used an earthmover which went very close to the standing structure and loosened its foundation.
“Most of the buildings here have no plan or documents from BBMP. They were transferred to BBMP without clearances, and violate building plan rules. A decision was taken to inspect other sites here and take corrective action. It is a revenue layout and people don’t even have B-Khatas. These buildings have 10-100 per cent setback violations, in some cases a wall is shared by two properties,” said another BBMP official.
Homeless for two days
It is the PG residents of the building and other residents of the layout who are hit hardest. Most of them have not eaten properly, panicky over having to leave their homes at short notice.Nagaraj and Jayamma, who live next to building, said, “BBMP and police have opened rehabilitation centres. But we haven’t had a bath for two days and have to wait to use toilets. Our sons couldn’t go to work. We hope the building is demolished soon.”
Some residents said they have been asked not to speak to the media, and refused to give their names to TNIE. “Our children are going to school without having a bath,” said one woman, adding that some families are camping in their relatives’ homes as the demolition could take time.An engineer supervising the demolition told TNIE, “It will take at least a week and we have taken measures to ensure that neighbouring buildings are not touched. There is no need to worry as experts are cutting each floor in a technical manner.”
Bharath Kumar, a PG accommodation resident, said, “We managed to take our bikes and laptops from the building with the help of a rescue team. Students have left their belongings in the rooms and are worried.”
Executives of the finance company which funded construction of the building visited the spot after building owner, Rahul, called them to check if he could claim insurance. Since it is a B-Khata site, there is no security, and Rahul had not even applied for permission, it is said. Two days ago, a borewell was sunk in an adjacent site. Rahul had warned the site owner, Babu, that it would affect his building, but Babu did not pay heed.