Earthquake-prone Ludhiana at risk from unauthorised constructionsUpdated: Aug 01, 2017, 15:49 IST
With Ludhiana falling in the high-risk seismic zone, rampant and illegal constructions are an open invitation to a disaster. The civic body authorities, however, have failed to check violations of the buildings by-laws in the city.
According to National Centre for Seismology (NCS), Ludhiana featured among other 29 cities highly vulnerable to earthquakes.
VIOLATION OF BYLAWS
Several high-rise illegal buildings have come up in streets of old city areas that are merely 4-8 ft wide. In narrow lanes of Dal Bazar, Meena Bazar, Gur Mandi, Sabun Bazar, Madhopuri and Khud Mohalla, fivestorey illegal buildings pose a threat to lives. Such is the case that in case of a major tragedy, even the fire tenders won’t be able to enter inside the narrow streets.
The violation of building bylaws is common in other city parts too, including Ferozepur Road, Pakhowal Road, Model Town, Sarabha Nagar and Dugri Road.
Ludhiana Smart City Limited director Sanjay Goel said, “Ludhiana falls under seismic zone 4. The buildings should be designed by qualified architects and engineers. However, that is not the case as only 4-5% buildings currently designed by them. The government should take necessary measures so that the buildings are quake-resistant.”
He added, “The city is unplanned and the height of buildings here is increased without any proper design or approval.”
Ward 18 councillor Inder Aggarwal claimed, “If 10,000 constructions take place in the city, maps of only 10% are approved annually. The authorities should wake up and take required measures to prevent these violations. The local bodies department should simplify the process of getting a map approved. It should be ensured that the buildings are earthquake proof.”
Local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu had recently admitted during his visit to the city a month ago that many structures were constructed without approval. He had assured that the state government will introduce a new policy soon regarding the same.
Sources said most building owners don’t take completion certificate from the municipal corporation and these buildings are illegally occupied without it.
According to MC officials, the building bylaws of the municipal corporation (MC) have no condition or clause regarding safety against earthquakes.
Besides illegal structures, there are hundreds of unsafe buildings in the city. The civic body has identified around 70 such structures and majority fall under MC’s Zone A. Some of buildings have even collapsed during rain in past years.
“If any massive earthquake hits the city, it can lead to a major tragedy. The authorities should pay heed towards unsafe as well as illegal structures in the city,” said Jagjeet Singh, a resident of Chandigarh Road.
The MC officials claim that they can’t take action against defaulters as majority of the cases regarding unsafe buildings are sub judice.
Senior town planner Kamaljeet Kaur said the building owner needs to submit structural safety certificate while seeking map approval for construction on 500 yards or above area.
She added that if any violation is found, required action will be taken.