Wall collapse exposes chinks in Palike scheme

Byelaws violated for construction of houses partly funded by BBMP

According to Palike officials, “unofficial” clearances are being given for construction of houses under the BBMP’s 22.75 per cent funding scheme, because no houses could be constructed if building byelaws are strictly adhered to.

“We cannot insist on strict compliance with byelaws in the case of this scheme as a majority of the houses are constructed on whatever land is available. No construction is possible if we follow the byelaws strictly,” said a Palike officer, who was present at the spot where the wall of a BBMP pourakarmika’s house under construction collapsed on an adjacent day-care centre, injuring 13 young children.

While setbacks and other conditions are laid down for construction on plots measuring 530 sq ft and above, no such rules are applicable if the Palike relaxes them for housing schemes to the economically weaker sections or for slum clearance.

However, the ‘unauthorised waiver’ puts lives of the beneficiaries at stake as demonstrated by Monday’s incident.

The 22.75 per cent scheme provides for construction of houses for the Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

A circular is now likely to be issued mandating regular inspection of houses constructed under the scheme. Palike Commissioner Siddaiah, who inspected the spot, said zonal commissioners and chief engineers would have to ensure the safety of the houses.

Girl continues to be critical

The condition of three-year-old Narmada injured in the wall collapse continued to be critical on Tuesday.

The MRI investigation shows dislocation of her upper two vertebrae and she has been put on skull traction, said Dr Balaji, Head of Neurosurgery, Victoria Hospital.

The child has been admitted to pediatric ICU at Vani Vilas Hospital. Dr Balaji said the immediate task was to realign the dislocated spine and Narmada will be put on high steroids for 48 hours. Narmada’s father Jagaprabhu is an auto driver.

The other five children - four boys and a girl - are stable, with one suspected to have sustained a leg fracture. They will be discharged as their condition is stable, Superintendent Dr Some Gowda told Deccan Herald. Of the two admitted to Nimhans, Padmini underwent a surgery for fracture of a frontal bone and the other child Bhuvaneshwari will be discharged on Wednesday.

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