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Monsters come alive!

ROOFTOP MONSTERS haunt Ganj shopkeepers once again after the Love Lane incident, with LMC bosses getting down to a damage control exercise. A majority of shopkeepers demand the LMC to remove all rooftop hoardings to ward off any such incidents in future.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 00:15 IST

ROOFTOP MONSTERS haunt Ganj shopkeepers once again after the Love Lane incident, with LMC bosses getting down to a damage control exercise.

A majority of shopkeepers demand the LMC to remove all rooftop hoardings to ward off any such incidents in future.

President of Hazratganj Traders’ Association Kishanchand Bhambwani says, “We have always wanted to make Ganj a hoarding-free zone. The LMC must remove all rooftop hoardings from here.” But, LMC chief engineer SK Srivastava counters, “We can only take cognizance of rooftop hoardings when an advertisement is placed on them. There was no advertisement on the giant steel structure on the building which collapsed.”

However, shopkeepers blame it on the LMC and argue, “Why does the corporation allow the owner to install such things on rooftops.” But additional commissioner Santosh Kumar says, “Instead of blaming the LMC for everything one must look inside some shops which have constructed basements. I am surprised why the LDA officials never objected to that. How can the LDA permit giant hoardings on heritage buildings?”

“We have already issued fresh notices to the occupants of Love Lane to vacate the unsafe building, the building was already in the list of unsafe buildings of the area,” says additional municipal commissioner Santosh Kumar. But, shopkeepers say, “Practically it would not be possible for a trader to vacate the shop in Love Lane, as it is the only means of earning for them. LMC can at best repair the building through its experts. All the expenses would be borne by the traders. Or they should allow traders to repair their buildings under the guidance of the ASI and LMC officials.”

Confronting the charges that the walls of the shop collapsed only due to rooftop hoardings additional municipal commissioner Santosh Kumar said,
“Although there are two giant steel structures to place roof top hoardings in Love Lane but it is also true that the shop owner was constructing basement inside the shop, violating norms of heritage buildings, so one cannot say that the walls of the rear portion of shop collapsed due to the illegal construction inside shop or the weight of hoardings.”

According to an internal LMC survey, there are 316 rooftop hoardings in the city out of which, 120 are in trans Gomti area and 196 in other localities.

Out of which 156 rooftop hoardings in the city are not certified. The LMC has also fixed appropriate size to 20 feet. “The LMC is always criticised after such incidents. But one should realise it’s not always our fault,” says Kumar.

“LMC bylaws clearly state that rooftop hoardings can only be put up at places certified by structural engineer of the LMC. But, only 160 out of 316 have been certified by our engineer,” he cited.

First Published: May 18, 2006 00:15 IST