The threat posed to children who are deprived of play area in apartment complexes and use their terrace as a make-shift playground was tragically driven home when 12-year-old Allan John Venzon Barraza had a fatal fall from a seven-storeyed building on Cunningham Road on November 18.
Violations of building bylaws, including the failure of the builders to raise the parapet on the terrace of high-rise residential buildings to a minimum of 5 feet, have become so common that they have ceased to attract attention.
Though the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has strict laws relating to safety aspects of buildings, including the height of parapet on the terrace — it should be at least 5 ft high — the norms are rarely enforced.
That a majority of high-rise buildings, including apartment complexes have violated building bylaws, has been accepted by the BBMP in its affidavit before the Karnataka High Court some time back.
The BBMP had placed before the court a list of buildings that had violated bylaws when cases relating to Koramangala and Sadashivanagar were being heard. During the course of the hearing, the BBMP had agreed before the court that it would take action against errant builders. So far, nothing seems to have come out of this assurance and the list of violators appears to be only growing.
Was Allan, who fell from Imperial Court apartment complex, also a victim of this violation? For, the parapet of the terrace from where he fell was 3.5 ft high. “Allan was supposed to go to school. Somehow, he landed up alone on the terrace and met a tragic end. We were not aware of the 1.5-m rule for the terrace boundary wall. We will construct a 6-ft fence on the terrace so that no such incidents recur,” said a source in Imperial Court.