It is being pulled down for lack of safety provisions and required permissions
At about 8 a.m. on Friday morning, officials from Coimbatore Corporation and the Coimbatore Local Planning Authority (LPA) and the police descended on Vignesvar Cresta on Avanashi Road. Accompanied by 25 men mobilised by the Corporation, they started demolishing the building, starting from the terrace.
The building that housed nearly 10 offices was damaged in a fire on April 25. Four women were killed in the fire. The district administration invoked the powers of the Revenue Divisional Officer under Section 133 (d) of the Criminal Procedure Code to inquire into the accident.
Coimbatore District Collector M. Karunagaran told The Hindu on Friday that demolition orders were issued by the Collector for violation of the rules of the Town and Country Planning Act and also by the RDO.
“The order is for demolition of the entire building,” he said. However, officials who were present when the demolition commenced said they planned to demolish the second and third floors initially as these did not have the required permission.
The structure has planning permission for industry building. It has permission for basement, ground and first floors. But, it is used as a commercial building. “It does not satisfy the rules of public building.” The second and third floors do not have the required permission. It also does not have safety provisions. There is just one entry and exit staircase and no emergency exit. “The building is unfit for occupation. If it is allowed to function, public safety is under question,” he said.
The Collector added that the building owners were given 30 days time to reply. They have not provided any explanation. They have filed a case in the Madras High Court but there is no stay or any other order from the court yet, he said.
Behind the cloth facade in front of the building, three notices (dated April 26, May 13, and May 29, 2013) are pasted on the walls, addressed to its owners – Jayalakshmi and Ramesh Adithya. The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) has disconnected power supply.
A security guard of the building warned people of nails on the floor as they walked into the second floor on Friday morning.
The dark interiors, blackened walls, debris and shattered glasses on the floor, diaries, letters, and even a couple of water bottles strewn around were all that remains of the fire-ravaged offices.
Officials said the 20,000 sq.ft building would not be usable.
Power supply was restored temporarily on Friday for use of machinery to demolish the structure.
A private telecom company has been asked to remove its tower on the building terrace. It was expected to take three or four days to complete the demolition, they said.