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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Bhopal : BMC wary of removing old buildings

Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, August 26, 2013
First Published: 09:17 IST(26/8/2013) | Last Updated: 10:47 IST(26/8/2013)

With heavy rainfall there is always a possibility that some old buildings may collapse in the city, especailly in Old City where some houses over a century old. But Bhopal Municipal Corporation has miserably failed to check such incidents.

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Over the years many residential and official structures have collapsed fully or partially in Bhopal, claiming many lives.

On Saturday, ironically it was a Bhopal Municipal Corporation employee who died when part of a dilapidated residential structure collapsed over him near Durga Chowk in Talaiya area of the Old City.

Afzal, 50, who was employed as watchman in the garden section of BMC, was going for duty around 7.45 in the morning, when he got buried under the rubble and died on the spot.

After any such incident, BMC starts serving more notices to the owners of dilapidated buildings and promises action.

But barring few cases, nothing much happens on the ground.

“We have asked our assistant engineers in all the wards to identify most dangerous buildings so that action can be taken against such buildings,” said BMC city engineer (civic) AK Nanda.

When asked whether the building that collapsed in Talaiya on Saturday and claimed the life of a BMC employee, was listed in the list of dilapidated and dangerous buildings, Nanda said according to the information available with him, the house was not listed in the list of the dangerous building.

A list of the dangerous and dilapidated buildings is compiled by BMC every year as part of its pre-monsoon activity.

Over the last few years, the number of such buildings has ranged between 100 and 300.

Every year BMC serves notices and takes action against some buildings, but most of the dilapidated structures continue to be there.

BMC official however maintain that they are not able to demolish such structures, most of which are located in Old City, due to variety of reasons.

BMC officers claim that some of the main reasons include residents taking legal recourse, disputed nature of some structures, people approaching influential people that they were being targeted, people citing humanitarian reasons that they had no other accommodation and total non-cooperation from residents.

Officials said that BMC faces many practical difficulties in demolishing the dilapidated buildings as there is dispute between owners and tenants and several structures are already in litigation.

It is not the dilapidated residential structures that pose threat to people, but the public buildings and structures like walls, heritage structures and overhead tanks are also endangering the lives of people.

On November 19 last year, seven people were killed and 35 others THE BMC serves two types of notices to these structures under the ambit of Municipal Corporation Act 1956.

For the buildings that are repairable, notices are served under Section 309 of the Act asking the owners/occupants of buildings to get their buildings / residential units repaired injured when an overhead water tank collapsed in Sai Baba Nagar slum area.

Subsequently, in haste, BMC demolished two crumbling overhead tanks.

But after many people got injured in the demolition of one of the overhead tanks, BMC is in a fix over how to demolish the rest of the dilapidated OHTs, especially the OHTs of shaft staging design that have been found vulnerable.

Like many heritage structures in city, the historic Moti Mahal and water tank collapsed in Sai Baba Nagar slum area.

Over a dozen metre long wall collapsed in the Barkehdi area of the city.

The local corporator Anwar Khan alleged that the wall, which was built three months before, collapsed as it was constructed using sub-standard material.

A BMC employee died when part of a residential structure collapsed over him in Talaiya area. within 15 days.

For buildings that face imminent danger of collapse, notices are served under section 310 of the Act for evacuation, after which they could be demolished.

There are other provisions in the Municipal Corporation Act 1956 regarding buildings unfit for human habitation. the adjacent gateway (connecting Shaukat Mahal) are also in a bad shape.

A part of roof of the about 150-year-old Moti Mahal had collapsed on July 27 last year, weakening the structure and the adjoining gateway.

While the dilapidated part of Moti Mahal is not inhabited now, the adjoining gateway poses danger to the citizens who pass under it every day to reach the old city parts including Hamidia Hospital and the BMC headquarters.


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