Following the disposal of writ petitions by the Madras High Court, officials from the Local Planning Authority (LPA) with assistance from Corporation and Police on Thursday resumed the drive to demolish the second and third floors of Vigneshwar Cresta building on Avanashi Road. A fire that broke out in the building on April 25 this year claimed four lives and left many injured.

Officials from LPA had served a notice on the building owner in April 2013 for violations and commenced a drive to demolish the structure. However, the demolition drive was suspended in two-days following stay by the Madras High Court based on a writ petition by the building owner.

The Madras High Court on November 19, 2013 had disposed off the writ petitions stating that it would not interfere with regard to the second and third floors which were not in consonance with the approved building plan. However, it directed the respondents i.e., the Member Secretary of LPA to consider a fresh appeal, if any filed by the building owner in respect of ground and first floor, by merit and in accordance with the law.

Consequently, the building owner had filed an appeal before the Member Secretary on December 10 seeking regularization of the building, sources said.

While the prayers of the petitioner regarding the ground and first floor are under consideration, District Collector Archana Patnaik, who is also the Chairperson of the LPA on December 24, 2013 ordered for demolition of the second and third floors. Demolition order was sent to the building owner by post and was also pasted on the doors at the building and as well as at the residence.

Decision to demolish came in the wake of the Fire and Rescue Services Department denying No Objection Certificate for failure to comply with ten conditions, Public Works Department in its stability certificate declaring that the structure was not fit for occupation. Coimbatore Corporation has also turned down the application from the petitioner seeking regularization of the building under the provisions of the Government Order No 234 and 235. The orders were meant only for regularization of buildings constructed before July 1, 2007 (subject to extent of violations and deviations).

Meanwhile, the LPA in its reply stated that approved building plan of December 22, 1999 was for industrial use but the same has now been turned into a commercial building. The height and width of the basement, extent of area constructed on ground and first floor were more than the approved plan, the notice added.

Officials said that the notice issued in April following the fire accident continues to be in force. Accordingly, the demolition drive began on Thursday morning amid tight police security under the supervision of Member Secretary of LPA S. Chandrasekharan. Demolition is expected to be completed in a day or two.