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Buildings fail durability test, officials pass buck

Nivedita Jain, Bangalore, Sept 14, 2013, DHNS :

Palike, BDA officials look the other way as byelaws go for a toss

The BBMP and BDA do not have much to offer by way of action against building byelaw violations even as more incidents of building collapse are being reported in the City. They are just indulging in what they are good at: passing the buck.

The collapse of an under-construction building in Someshwaranagar last month, killing two labourers, has not woken up the civic bodies from their slumber. A fortnight later, another building came crashing down in Kengeri. It is suspected that weak centring of the roof caused the accident. On Saturday, two people were killed in a building collapse incident at Domlur.


The Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force has registered 465 complaints regarding unauthorised constructions and byelaw violations from January till September this year on its website. Residents allege that BBMP officials are not responsive to their complaints.

Ram Prasad, a resident of HSR Layout, had lodged a complaint with the BMTF about three illegal apartment complexes at Kasavanahalli.

“Work on the buildings is still under progress despite two notices being issued to officials of the Palike Town Planning department. BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana was evasive in his response to the issue. I suspect that the Palike is hand-in-glove with the builders,” he said.


Blame game

BDA has developed a set of rules - the 2015 Master Plan and Zoning Regulations - which are often referred to by the BBMP before approving building plans. P N Nayak, chief engineer, BDA said it is the responsibility of the BBMP to ensure proper implementation of the rules.

Chowde Gowda, additional director, Town Planning, said, “In each zone in the Palike limits, there are eight officers who keep tabs on building byelaw violations. They are required to keep a check on illegal structures that are coming up, but only within the Palike limits,” he said.


No statistics

Gowda remained tight-lipped about the number of violations that have taken place in the City. He shrugged off the question, saying it is the joint commissioners (JCs) of the zones who maintain the statistics. When a former JC was contacted, he said, “It is very difficult to get the statistics of the building violations in the Palike limits. The Palike does not maintain records and takes action only after receiving complaints.”

A few private builders in the City feel that building contractors compromise on the quality of construction material leading to disasters.


Ashok Kumar, a private builder from Nagarbhavi said: “It is wrong to blame only the authorities as builders play a vital role. A structure lasts long only when cement, sand and concrete are used in proper ratio. The building engineer and the Palike should see to it that poor quality materials are not used for construction.”

Echoing the same opinion, Khan S from Limra Builders, Thanisandra Main Road said builders’ negligence was responsible for about 90 per cent of the collapse incidents in the City. “The land owners trust the contractors and building engineers blindly, who in turn misuse the materials,” he said.


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