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Updated: May 26, 2013 11:42 IST

Drive against unauthorised buildings to resume

M. Soundariya Preetha
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Vigneshwar Cresta, the building that caught fire last month, will be among the structures that the fresh drive will target in the city. File photo: S.Siva Saravanan
Vigneshwar Cresta, the building that caught fire last month, will be among the structures that the fresh drive will target in the city. File photo: S.Siva Saravanan

As many as 59 buildings sealed after the fire accident

The District Administration plans to resume sealing of constructions in the city that have failed to adopt safety norms or have violated building rules.

Officials are also expected to take action soon against Vigneshwar Cresta, a commercial centre on Avanashi Road, where a fire accident last month claimed four lives. Following the fire accident at Vigneshwar Cresta, the Coimbatore Local Planning Authority (LPA) and Coimbatore Corporation had identified 201 buildings for penal action. Most of these were commercial structures. The officials had issued notices to these structures during recent months and sealed as many as 59 buildings after the fire accident.

District Collector M. Karunagaran told The Hindu over the phone on Saturday that the owners of the remaining structures were given 15 days time to take remedial action. The State Government had come out with a scheme to regularise structures built before 2007 but had deviations or violations. The building owners could make use of the scheme, he said.

An official of the LPA said that owners of some of the buildings that were sealed had either appealed to the State Government or approached the court, and subsequently the seal was removed in some.

With regard to action against Vigneshwar Cresta, an official of Coimbatore Corporation told The Hindu that the building had violated the usage for which it was permitted. Though it had approval for an industrial building, it was used as a commercial structure. Further, two floors in the building were unauthorised.

The LPA had already issued demolition orders for the two floors.

The Corporation would discuss with the LPA and decide on the date on which to take action against the two floors. It would also seal the building for violation of usage permission.

The District Administration has invoked the powers of the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) under Section 133 (d) of the Criminal Procedure Code wherein the RDO is empowered to expedite the process of serving notice, seeking explanation and even issuing orders for demolition.

Inquiry

The RDO said that the inquiry was over and, although the order was yet to be issued, it could be expected soon.

The associations of builders, architects, and civil engineers had planned to conduct an awareness seminar early this week on safety norms and remedial measures for deviations.

But, they had postponed it, and now it has been proposed to conduct it by the end of the month.

They expected the 15-day time given to the identified buildings to be extended by a week so that the awareness meeting could be held.

More In: Coimbatore

How did these unauthorized structures come up in the first place? Why
are drives undertaken only as a knee-jerk reaction? Why is there no
accountability and followup of the suggested measures, which are never
implemented? Making mere press statements and posing for pretty
photographs by the officials and bureaucracy is going to get us nowhere.

from:  Sudhir
Posted on: May 26, 2013 at 17:56 IST
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