Living under shadow of threat to their lives for no fault of theirs | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Living under shadow of threat to their lives for no fault of theirs

A retired Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employee and all other members of his family have been living under a constant threat to their lives as walls of their house has developed cracks following the construction of an 'illegal' building in their neighbourhood.

punjab Updated: Feb 13, 2014 22:07 IST
Sanjeev Bhalla

A retired Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employee and all other members of his family have been living under a constant threat to their lives as walls of their house has developed cracks following the construction of an 'illegal' building in their neighbourhood.

Nirmal Singh, a retired executive engineer who had also been a technical consultant to the electricity board, alleged that a four-storeyed building had been constructed near his house setting aside building bylaws and even municipal corporation authorities kept their eyes closed due to political pressure and, in spite of several complaints, they did not take any action to stop the construction.

Talking to HT at his residence in Guru Nanak Nagar, he rued, "MC authorities first kept their eyes shut under political pressure and did not stop the construction. Later, on my repeated complaints, they swung into action and even issued an order to demolish the structure but, thereafter, they themselves advised my neighbour to move court against the demolition order."

He did so and the matter is now in the court. But, interestingly, I was the affected person, but the petitioner did not make me a party in the case. But after moving the court, both MC officials and the complainant are taking advantage of the legal system and just delaying demolition by avoiding presence in the court and only taking dates after dates, Nirmal Singh alleged.

After my complaints, the MC itself had declared the building as illegal and dangerous, but it is doing nothing for its early demolition, Nirmal said.

Showing the damage to his house due to this illegal construction, Nirmal Singh said, "At over 50 places, cracks have erupted in my house. The illegal building was constructed after demolishing a single-storey building following the resolution of a family dispute. The owner did not bother to work on basic building construction norms and took the building up to the fourth level in a hurry and illegally."

"Even officials of the corporation kept on visiting the site regularly on my complaints, but failed to take any action under political pressure. Later, on July 29, 2010, assistant town planner issued a demolition notice to the owner. The MC has also sought a report from several structural engineers and everyone had cited the construction as illegal and dangerous but no action was taken by the MC in this direction," he said.

"We are living under a threat as the building can collapse any time, especially during rainy and windy days. I have been moving from pillar to post in the MC department asking officials to visit to my house but to no result," he said, adding that, "Now, I am planning to seek legal remedy in this matter."

MC commissioner Manprit Singh Chattwal, when contacted, showed ignorance on the matter. "I will check the records and try to assure every sort of relief which we can provide to the petitioner in the present circumstances," he said.