Finally waking up from its deep slumber over the threat posed by unsafe buildings in the walled city area to the lives and property of area residents and visitors alike, the Amritsar municipal corporation officials have demolished three decrepit buildings in Lahori Gate and Chowk Passian areas.
While two of these unsafe structures were demolished at Chowk Passian on Thursday, the third one at Lahori Gate was razed on Wednesday.
Municipal town planner Des Raj said that as many as 44 unsafe buildings were identified in Chowk Passian area alone. In all, around 140 unsafe structures had been identified till date in the walled city area and more were likely to be added to this list in the coming few days.
"The razed structures were decrepit commercial-cum-residential buildings, which were more than six decades old and hence a threat to the lives and security of occupants as well as area residents," he said. He added that notices had been issues to the owners of these buildings to either get them repaired or demolished at the earliest.
Des Raj stated that the demolition drive would continue till the walled city area was rid of unsafe buildings. Apart from demolition of unsafe buildings, the MC town planning department staff would also look out for more such unsafe buildings in the walled city as part of a survey by the MC.
Sources said that during a survey conducted in 2004, the MC had identified 119 unsafe buildings. Of these, only 19 structures had been razed so far, while more than 100 unsafe structures were still standing in the most frequented but cramped bylanes of the thickly populated walled city area that also witnesses immense tourist rush on a daily basis.
These buildings could collapse due to even slight seismic activity or rains. During monsoons in the last couple of years, around a dozen of these structures have collapsed, claiming several lives.
According to sources, more than five persons were killed during building collapses in 2011 alone. "We intend to continue with the demolition drive till we are sure that residents of these areas are safe and face no more threats to their lives from unsafe buildings," said municipal commissioner BS Rai.