Audit structural stability of all buildings: Govt

Written By Unknown on Senin, 08 April 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Finally waking up to the horrific consequences of illegal constructions, the government has issued directives to audit structural stability of new as well as old buildings in urban and semi-urban areas in the state.

However, this is not the first time that such an order has been issued. In the aftermath of the collapse of a Borivli building, Laxmi Chhaya, in 2007, a structural audit provision was approved by the legislature and included in the building bylaws but it is yet to be enforced. Before that, former civic chief K C Shrivastav had first recommended structural audit in his fact-finding report on the Bandra's Govind Tower collapse in 1998.

Going by the government directives, civic bodies will deploy "beat marshals" in every pocket to ensure that no new illegal construction comes up. Like police beat marshals, the watchdogs-they would be engineers from local municipal corporations-would patrol a designated area; on spotting any unauthorized construction activity in their jurisdictions, they are supposed to report it to the assistant municipal commissioner. Punitive action will be taken if they fail to do so. Even the assistant municipal commissioner concerned will not be spared if s/he does not act against illegal structures reported to her/him, the directive said.

For the exercise, the government has asked the corporations to enforce a law that makes it mandatory for all buildings over 30 years to conduct their own structural audit. The law says a housing society or an owner will have to select one of the empanelled engineers for the check. If a society or owner fails to carry out the exercise, the civic body concerned can conduct it on its own and recover the charges from the society or the owner.

On Saturday, chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia also directed civic bodies to prepare an inventory of unauthorized structures in their jurisdictions and to demolish those that have come up in the last five years or so.

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