The stormwater drain (SWD) remodelling work at Okalipuram, behind Muddanna silk factory, came to an abrupt halt on Monday when a few buildings constructed on the SWD collapsed.
Residents alleged that buildings that collapsed had developed cracks due to the drainage remodelling work. Fortunately, no casualties were reported as the residents of a three-storey building had vacated their houses on Sunday. Srinivas, owner of the building said: “The walls inside the house had developed cracks. Hence, we decided to move out and shift all our belongings on Sunday itself.”
The owners of sheet buildings, which were damaged, had vacated a week ago as their houses too had developed cracks.
Selva Raj, one of the residents of the sheet buildings for the past 40 years, said: “We shifted to a rented house in the same locality as I was sure that one day the building will collapse due to the drainage work.” The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had taken up remodeling of the stormwater drain two-and-a-half months ago. The work included bed protection, construction of a new retaining wall and jacketing. One of the residents maintained that had the work been completed within 15 days, the problem wouldn’t have persisted.
“The work was progressing at a slow pace. But, the authorities told us that the work would be completed in a week. However, it was not over.”
Residents and several curious onlookers gathered at the spot in no time as the buildings caved in. One of the eye-witnesses, Shamraj Charles, said: “The structure collapsed in a few seconds.”
Gandhinagar MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao, who visited the spot, said steps would be taken to build homes for the residents at the same place by utilising Central government funds. Temporary relief would be provided from the Palike. “Before the drainage work was taken up, a building was damaged and hence, we had called for a tender to construct a new retaining wall and carry out other works,” he added.
BBMP Chief Engineer (SWD), H C Ananthaswamy denied the allegations of delay in completing the work.
“We do not know how the SWD work led to the building collapse. We will be able to confirm the exact reason only after a thorough probe,” he said.