Shopping complex owner pushes structure by eight feet to prevent demolition

Residents of Mappedu, near Tambaram, have been flocking to Agaram Road to see an engineering marvel unfold before their eyes.

Till a few days ago, a three-floored shopping complex on this road and the house next to it were standing on the same level. Now, there is a yawning gap between the two.

Unlike dozens of landlords in Mappedu who have preferred to demolish their property to make way for the Eastern Bypass project, a businessman has hired workers to push his building by eight feet without altering it one bit.

“I constructed this complex with five shops, spread over 1,400 sq. ft., two years ago,” said 51-year-old D. Anburaj. Like others, he constructed the complex on land acquired by the State highways department more than 30 years ago.

“As it is, the complex is not massive. Even if I were to demolish just a part of it, the remaining portion would be of no use and hence I decided to push it back,” Mr. Anburaj said. An internet search led him to TDBD Lifting Service, a Haryana-based private engineering firm.

“We first dug up the floor and the area around the building, and scooped out the earth. The jacks and specially-designed rollers that lift and push the building were placed underneath it. There are eight columns in the building and we asked the landlord to dig new foundations at eight spots where the columns would fit in once the building is pushed,” said Sushil Sisodia, the private firm’s managing director.

The workers took nearly a month to place the jacks and rollers, and also to create a channel around the building. The actual lifting of the building and its subsequent pushing by eight feet will take less than a week.

The building at present rests on the jacks and rollers, apart from bricks held together by cement mixture. “We have been here for more than a month and the hydraulic pushing began a couple of days ago. We have pushed the building back by four feet and the remaining work will be completed in less than three days,” said Lakshmi Prashad, site supervisor.

Mr. Anburaj has spent Rs. 7 lakh on the work. The building, including the wooden furniture and glass panes, has not suffered any damage in the course of the operation.

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