CHENNAI: The Chennai Corporation has identified 132 buildings in the city which needs to be pulled down at the earliest, according to officials.
The civic body’s counter initiative comes in the wake of a large number of building collapses in the city, which has resulted in loss of lives.
The latest incident happened on Sunday, when a portion of an 80-year-old building collapsed on the roof of a nearby godown, killing two workers. Incessant rains have exposed the frailty of many such structures in the city and, thus the civic body took up the initiative to identify weak buildings and assess the security risk it poses.
The findings are from a preliminary survey conducted by the Corporation officials, which sought to identify the weakest among all structures. “The actual figure could be quite large, in fact several times more. However, this is only the first of many phases of the survey process,” said an official.
Officials said that plans are afoot to issue notices to the landlords who are responsible to demolish the unstable structure. Alternatively, the Corporation will also carry out the demolition and then levy charges from the landlord. Pointing out that not all old structures needed to be razed down, officials said that while the age of a structure would influence their decision whether or not to assess it, there were several other factors at play. “The risk factor compounds if the structure is located in a seismic zone,” said an official.
Besides, factors such as its location, impact the assessment. For instance, the risk factor associated with a building located in T Nagar, Parrys, Broadway, Purasawalkam areas are several times more than those that are in lesser congested places, officials said. Another aspect, officials highlighted, was the maintenance of a structure.
“Even if the building was more than a 100 years old, how well the tenant or landlord has maintained it determines its longevity. The architectural design of the structure determines the stability,” said another official.
Civic body officials pointed out that the Corporation retains the right to demolish a structure that it deems unfit, under Section 258 of the Madras City Municipal Corporation Act of 1919. However, officials lamented the lack of a policy level guideline for its strict enforcement.
“The provisions are there under Section 258 but the implementation hits several roadblocks, beside the legal ones,” said a senior official. “A change in the policy is necessary but we are moving in the right direction,” the official added.