Fearing that the tilted building in Old Bhopal near Kamla Park that had created panic in the area on Wednesday, might collapse anytime and damage life and property, the authorities demolished the four-storey building using explosives in the wee hours of Thursday.
Despite controlled explosions spread over to 15 minutes, the building collapsed forward, partially damaging seven houses in the locality. However, nobody was injured.
The angry residents whose houses were damaged didn’t allow the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) employees to take out the debris from the locality. Three JCB machines had arrived to take out the rubble but they were not allowed to move towards the debris. The residents said they won’t allow the transport of debris unless the administration assures them that they will be compensated for the damage.
On Wednesday night, the district administration and BMC were anxious about the safety of residents in the area. After discussions and consultations, finally the demolition was carried out in the presence of collector Nishant Warwade and BMC commissioner Vishesh Garhpale, who took the final call after explosives expert Sharad Sarwate also recommended that the building be demolished at the earliest.
Sharad Sarwate who was called from Indore at night said after he realised that the cracks were widening, he didn’t deem it wise to wait till morning. "Around 4.18am, we demolished the house by drilling 40 holes and detonating around five-and-a-half kgs of explosives over a period of 15 minutes to minimise the damage to the surrounding houses. Given the fact that it is a thickly populated area, it was a huge challenge for me to ensure minimum damage to the surrounding structures," he said.
Sayed Akhtar, whose house is located right in front of the building that tilted, said his house has been badly affected by the collapsing structure. "Instead of caving in, it collapsed towards my house and damaged the front area and many rooms. Unless we are assured a compensation of around Rs 5 lakh, we wont allow them to take out the rubble," he said.
Mohammad Shahid, another neighbour, whose house was also damaged, rued that they had no idea that the falling building would damage their house. "Had they told us, we would have taken out our household goods. Our children couldn’t even take out their school uniforms in the morning," he said.
Mohammad Salim, whose house has also been damaged, asked why residents should pay for the failure of the authorities to check whether buildings in the city are being constructed according to norms. “Why should we suffer for no fault of ours? If we are not compensated, we will protest," he said.