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30-year-old building collapses

A 30-YEAR-OLD Madhya Pradesh Housing Board (MPHB) apartment complex at Kotra Sultanabad collapsed on Tuesday afternoon injuring two people - one seriously.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 01:24 IST

Vacant flats averted major tragedy

A 30-YEAR-OLD Madhya Pradesh Housing Board (MPHB) apartment complex at Kotra Sultanabad collapsed on Tuesday afternoon injuring two people - one seriously.

However, a major tragedy was averted, as half of the 12-EWS flat complex near Saraswati Shishu Mandir are vacant because the building was in a bad shape. Fortunately, when the building collapsed at about 1.40 pm, most of the families living there were out of their homes.

According to eyewitnesses, a big part of the corner of this building came down even when an elderly person was sitting on a slab. Later on, another part of this building also came down.  Two persons of a family, Harlal Mehra and Lal Bahadur, were injured.  While one sustained serious head injuries, authorities said both were out of danger.  The BMC squad and Mayor Sunil Sood reached the site immediately. The BMC removed debris with a JCB and later pressed a poclain machine into service.

During rescue and debris removal operation, another part of this building also collapsed, just as the BMC Commissioner Manish Singh instructed BMC employees, who were inside, to come out. This saved the lives of some BMC employees.

Entire household goods of families living in the complex were trapped under the debris and while they tried to retrieve some goods, their efforts went in vain. The families broke down on losing their entire domestic goods. People living in adjoining flats of the same complex started vacating their home and brought their goods on the road out of fear. 

 Only recently, the roof of a newly constructed MPHB project  Riviera collapsed at Mata Mandir

The BMC squad continued the work to remove debris until late evening with BMC Commissioner himself monitoring the work. MP Kailash Joshi and BMC chairman Ramdayal Prajapati issued directives to MPHB officials to provide help to the affected people.

CBRI pre-cast blocks were used: THIS MPHB Kotra Sultanabad building was constructed in 1976 with new technology introduced by Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) along with another 144 flats.  According to MPHB officials at the site, the building was constructed with pre-cast blocks and the debris also suggested that there was no use of iron in the structure of the building  leading to the building collapsing like a pack of cards. 

Building construction experts also said lack of proper maintenance reduced the age of this building, as there was no society to look into its maintenance.  The condition of other buildings in Kotra Sultanabad is also the same.

House was not on ‘dangerous buildings’ list
ALTHOUGH THE Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) has identified 229 structures in the City as ‘dangerous’, authorities have failed to vacate people living in such buildings. The three-storeyed Madhya Pradesh Housing Board (MPHB) apartment that collapsed today at Kotra Sultanabad was, however, not in the list of dangerous structures.

The Hindustan Times had carried a report in this regard on August 1 after the first spell of heavy rains on July 31 cautioning authorities about such dangerous buildings during the rains.

Most of the buildings identified as dangerous are situated in the walled City and authorities have yet to take initiatives to get these buildings vacated. Like one at Kotra, many of the dilapidated buildings are not even listed as dangerous.

About the Kotra building, BMC officials said the building was only 30 years old, while most of the buildings included in the list of dangerous buildings were 60 to 90 years old.

BMC officials, however, said it was difficult for them to take action against such buildings due ownership and tenancy disputes. Some buildings are entangled in legal cases. The vacating or demolishing such buildings could invite legal problems, they added.

The highest number of dangerous buildings - 47 - are situated in wards of BMC zone-3. There are 20 in zone-2, 13 in zone-4, 45 in zone-5, two in zone-6 and 14 in zone-7. Owners of these identified buildings have already been served notices.

When asked, Mayor Sunil Sood said the condition of the building that collapsed today was not so bad that a notice could be served. He said MPHB maintained this building so there was no question of apprehending such incident. He said that there was some practical problems like people were not ready vacate such buildings.


BMC dwellings most vulnerable
ALTHOUGH THE Bhopal Municipal Corporation is supposed to monitor dilapidated structures in the City, buildings in its own colonies could collapse any time. The BMC has over 530 houses and sheds in the City for its employees. The 200 houses for BMC employees in Nagar Nigam Colony on Berasia Road, the complex of 90 houses for sanitary workers at Ambedkar Nagar in Nehru Nagar and the BMC dwellings for sanitary

workers at Shahjahanabad are also in a bad shape and could collapse any time during the rainy season. Lack of proper maintenance has further deteriorated the condition of these buildings over the past couple of years. According to officials, BMC employees are not vacating these buildings.