Unsafe buildings: MC yet to wake up to threat | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Unsafe buildings: MC yet to wake up to threat

An earthquake that originated in Indonesia and shook parts of India has failed to wake up the Amritsar municipal corporation from slumber, as old and dilapidated buildings continue to dot the cramped walled city area.

punjab Updated: Apr 15, 2012 18:06 IST
Shaheen P Parshad

An earthquake that originated in Indonesia and shook parts of India has failed to wake up the Amritsar municipal corporation from slumber, as old and dilapidated buildings continue to dot the cramped walled city area.

Though the Amritsar deputy commissioner has brought the MC authorities' attention to unsafe buildings, the latter is yet to initiate an action.

More than 100 hazardous old buildings are situated in the heavily-populated and most-frequented narrow lanes of the walled city. A total of 119 old buildings were identified during a survey in 2004.

To date, 19 such structures have been razed. Sources said still there are several old buildings in the inaccessible quarters of the walled city, which are yet to be identified. A majority of these buildings are entangled in legal disputes, which, say sources, prevent the MC from initiating an action.

Five persons were killed during the monsoon season last year when some of these hazardous old buildings caved in after a spell of rain.

Fearing a repeat of last year's tragedy, deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal had suggested that the MC officials conduct a survey of old buildings in the city and take steps to settle disputes involving these buildings so that action can be initiated to ensure safety of residents.

While city residents say these buildings could come down in event of a massive earthquake or a rain or a heavy gust of wind, MC officials maintain that Amritsar does not fall under the high seismic activity zone.

Rashpal Singh, a frequent visitor to the walled city area, said just the thought of venturing into the cramped lanes, where these old buildings are situated, sends a shiver down his spine. "No one knows when one of these old structures would cave in. Even the slightest breeze is enough to bring these buildings down," he said.

Municipal commissioner Dharampal Gupta said that they would start a survey of old buildings, particularly the ones in the walled city, on April 15. "We will start the survey on April 15 and instructions in this regard have been issued to the officers concerned," he said.