All Shimla buildings to be surveyed post Kachi Ghati

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 6

All buildings in Shimla will be surveyed with the help of a technical committee to assess if any structure is unsafe and needs to be demolished.

Talking to The Tribune, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said, "The collapse of a building in Kachi Ghati is an eye-opener. We can't rule out the possibility of recurrence of such mishaps if timely steps are not taken." He said while a three-member committee will ascertain the reasons behind the collapse, there was a need to rope in technical experts to examine the whole issue minutely. He admitted that the situation with regard to unauthorised constructions was serious, but said a mechanism was in place to check violations of building bylaws.

Sources said the panel looking into the building collapse would recommend holding of an audit of all buildings in Kachi Ghati area to check violations. Shimla, once the summer capital of the British, is now a pale shadow of its glorious past. It has virtually been reduced to a concrete jungle with traffic congestion, denudation of the green cover and haphazard urban sprawl marring its beauty. Building norms are not being adhered to in the absence of checking by the authorities, which is largely responsible for the mess.

An MC official said, "Till 2003, when Shimla was a semi-urban area falling under the Nagar Panchayat, the permissible limit of floors was four. Besides, two more storeys are allowed under the Retention Policy, 2002." But many buildings had been raised to 8-10 floors, including the basement and attic, he said.

The Kachi Ghati and Ghora Chowki localities at the entrance of the town have become a hub of hotels. Many old buildings have been altered and additions made to meet the enhanced requirement for space. What has made the situation precarious is the fact that construction has been done on nullahs and water springs, blocking the flow of water and causing grave damage to the buildings. — TNS

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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