Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 18. Yesterday’s reports of monsoon fury across North India, which washed away several buildings in Uttarakhand, could be a wake up call for the civic authorities.
While most unsafe buildings in the state continue to remain occupied, the authorities need to act immediately to avoid any untoward incident.
Amritsar MC faces legal hurdles
The city has a number of dilapidated buildings and that, too, in densely populated areas.
The civic authorities have already ordered a survey to identify old and crumbling buildings which pose risk to the human life. The survey was done last year as well. The authorities had identified 113 unsafe buildings and had even demolished some in Dholi Mohalla on the Sultanwind road, Maini Chowk in Lakshmansar, Tabela Jagatram in Namak Mandi. In most cases, the officials faced legal complications as the buildings are occupied by tenants for more than five decades and the owners have moved the court for getting their properties vacated.
A resolution is possible only if some policy is made at the administrative level.
In 2011, when a series of building collapsed during heavy rain, the district administration, in collaboration with the MC and the Improvement Trust, had submitted a policy with the Ministry of Local Bodies. The administration had sought that occupants of such buildings be offered alternative accommodation. But even after lapse of two years, the ministry is yet to reply.
Most unsafe buildings are located in Dharam Singh market, Katra Ahluwalia Bazaar, Namak Mandi, Gali Chhajju and Guru Bazaar, Pratap Bazaar, Cheel Mandi, Ghantagarh and Haveli Zamidara. Several others are located adjacent to or on way to the Jallianwala Bagh and the Golden Temple. All these areas are densely populated and witness heavy commercial activities everyday.
Besides, there are some government schools which are run from dilapidated buildings. Three government schools, an anganwari centre and the Block Elementary Education Office (Amritsar-I) are functioning from a historical building on the Mahna Singh Road. Six rooms of the building, built in 1940, accommodate over 200 students of all these schools.
Similarly, Government Elementary School, Sharifpura, is running from a dilapidated building. The roof of three rooms has already fallen. The school authorities are left with three rooms to accommodate students of Classes I to V. Its construction is caught in bureaucratic rigmarole.
Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said: “A survey is being conducted to identify unsafe buildings. Most government offices running from such buildings have been shifted, but residential and commercial areas need immediate attention. We are planning some preventive measures on a priority basis to avoid any mishap during the rainy season”.
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