A day after two people — an elderly woman and her granddaughter — died in a roof collapse, the Amritsar municipal corporation (MC) has decided to embark on a demolition drive of such unsafe buildings in the city.
A team of officials of the municipal town planning wing visited Chowk Passian, where the building had collapsed on Friday, and issued notices to the owners of around 20 unsafe buildings in the area.
According to the notice, the MTP department will start razing unsafe structures in the walled city area from Monday.
Municipal town planner Des Raj said the MTP officials had been ordered to raze all unsafe buildings that they come across.
He added that the step was taken as monsoon was around the corner, and tragedies related to house collapse in Amritsar and its neighbouring areas, particularly the walled city area, were common and often.
“Though a number of buildings appear, and are actually, unsafe, there are instances in which buildings appear normal but are actually in a bad shape. The officials concerned have been asked to identify such unsafe buildings in the walled city area for demolition,” he said.
As per a 2014 survey, there are more than 143 unsafe buildings in the walled city area alone. However, if the MC officials are to be believed, a fresh survey is being conducted to scour the area for more unsafe buildings, the report of which will be submitted by Monday.
Des Raj said out of the total 143 unsafe buildings identified last year, a majority of them were embroiled in legal disputes involving owners and tenants. “Though owners are seeking eviction of their buildings, tenants are reportedly demanding a fat remuneration from them,” he said. “The legal disputes always come as a hindrance in the MC’s drive against unsafe buildings,” he added.
However, it is yet to be seen that how serious the MC is in its motive this time, as there are instances when MC officials in the past swung into action to raze unsafe building after an incident of roof or building collapse only to defer the drive a couple of days later.
An incident of roof collapse was also reported in Islamabad area on May 11, in which two children had died. In another incident, two women died in a roof collapse reported on March 30 in the Majitha Road area.