Still no action on 150 unsafe buildings in Ludhiana city

Published on Jun 19, 2022 11:32 PM IST

Ludhiana municipal corporation (MC) has taken to passing the buck on to the police, stating that it is the latter’s job to get occupants moved from the unsafe buildings in question

A view of an unsafe building in Shahi Mollaha in Ludhiana. (HT PHOTO)
A view of an unsafe building in Shahi Mollaha in Ludhiana. (HT PHOTO)
By, Ludhiana

Even as around 150 unsafe buildings in different parts of the city continue to pose grave danger to the lives of residents, especially during monsoon, authorities have failed to take any corrective steps.

The municipal corporation (MC) has taken to passing the buck on to the police, stating that it is the latter’s job to get occupants moved from the buildings in question.

The roof collapse incident reported in Bhora village near Jalandhar bypass on Saturday morning, wherein two lives were lost and four others were injured, has again cast the spotlight on the dangers of turning a blind eye to such unsafe buildings. Though the room in Bhora village, where the unfortunate incident took place, was not declared unsafe by the authorities, its roof was made of girders (wooden block), which is the case with majority of the unsafe buildings in the city.

As per the authorities, there are around 150 such buildings across the city and over 65 are located in old city areas falling under Zone A of the MC.

These are located in densely-populated areas, including Chaura Bazar, Daresi Road, Lakkar Bazar, Field Ganj, Shahi Mohalla, Iqbal Ganj Chowk etc. A number of buildings are also over 100 years old. While many of them are vacant, some are occupied by residents or are being used to run shops.

Even as the risk of building collapse increases during the monsoon, due to strong winds and heavy rain, action by the civic body has remained limited to issuing notices to the owners, stating that the owners will be responsible for any damage to property or person in case of an untoward incident.

A public notice was also issued to the owners in July 2020, directing them to get the buildings vacated, but to no avail.

Civic body officials say the MC does not have the powers to get buildings vacated, and the onus to do so lies with the police.

The cases regarding many of the buildings are also sub-judice and the owner and tenants are at loggerheads over different issues, including ownership of the decades old property, due to which no steps can be taken on the buildings without the intervention of the courts.

Senior town planner (STP) SS Bindra said that under the municipal act, MC can only serve the notices to owners, directing them to vacate the building. “The MC does not have any power to forcefully push anyone out of unsafe buildings. Police can get the buildings vacated and the civic body has been writing to them for the same. MC has also been serving notices to building owners every year to vacate the building by themselves as continuing to stay on will only put their lives at risk. Notices have been served this year too.”

Police commissioner Kaustubh Sharma said he is not aware of any communication received from the MC regarding unsafe buildings and that he will have to check the file before commenting on the issue.

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