Unstable buildings, negligent GHMC

Hyderabad: Lapses in checks on structural stability of buildings have cost four lives within a span of two months in the city.

The latest incident occurred on Sunday at Jubilee Hills, where the under-construction portico of the Film Nagar Cultural Club collapsed, killing two labourers and injuring many more. In the previous incident last month, two labourers were killed when the roof of an under-construction building collapsed on them at Hussaini Alam.

These deaths highlight how the buildings in the city are far from structurally stable, say engineers and urban planning experts. According to records available with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), roughly 60% of the buildings in the city lack structural stability certificates.

An official report published last year also underscored several irregularities, including unauthorised constructions, encroachment of nalas and open spaces in four cooperative housing societies – Film Nagar, Jubilee Hills, Nandagiri and Venkateshwara Cooperative Housing Societies. The report, jointly prepared by the GHMC and the department of cooperative societies, was submitted to the house committee on irregularities in cooperative housing societies.

Meanwhile, regarding Sunday’s collapse, civic body chief B Janardhan Reddy admitted to certain lapses. Speaking to TOI, he said, “There were several lapses in the construction of this building and we will now form a committee comprising engineering experts from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) and Osmania University to identify the reasons for the collapse.”

Incidentally, the club, which is frequented by film stars, was constructed on a piece of land that was earlier earmarked by the civic authorities for a rock garden.

Urban planners are now a worried lot and insist that immediate action should be taken. “Many of the buildings identified by the GHMC are over 100 years old. The GHMC is supposed to serve notices and demolish these structures. By not doing so, they are posing a threat to the lives of those living inside and around the building,” rued V Sathyanarayanan, a senior member of the Institute of Town Planners.

“When the GHMC knows that there are weakening structures, they must immediately demolish them instead of waiting for a disaster to strike. If they can’t do that, they must force the owner of the building to strengthen the building, at the very least,” he added.

In fact, even faculty members at JNTU, who are independent consultants for the civic body in this matter, feel that authorities aren’t handling the issue well. “We are the notified third-party consultants, but in the last two years we have inspected only 20-25 buildings. When the GHMC doesn’t approach us, what can we do?” questioned Dr K Rama Mohan Rao, director, Bureau of Industrial Consultancy Services, JNTU-Hyderabad.

Courtsey: TNN | 26-Jul-2016

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