Staff Correspondent

'Union Government has identified Mangalore as a highly earthquake-prone urban centre'

Civic administration did not insist on adherence to norms of National Building Code till May 2005After May 2005, licences were denied to those plans not complying with NBC norms on safetyDespite this, illegal construction is going on

MANGALORE: The Citizens' Forum for Mangalore Development on Monday urged the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) to ensure that the builders in the city followed the norms of National Building Code (NBC), 2005, especially while constructing high-rise buildings.

Addressing a press conference here, members of the forum Celine Aranha and Sylvester D'Souza, said that the Union Government has identified Mangalore as a highly earthquake-prone urban centre in Seismic Zone III as per the vulnerability atlas of 2002.

If the high-rise buildings failed to adhere to safety norms, they will invite problems in case of earthquake.

Though NBC norms were incorporated in the MCC building bylaws in 1992 itself, the city administration had not insisted upon adherence to NBC norms till May 2005.

This has been responsible for the haphazard growth of high-rise buildings on narrow roads. But since May 2005, building licences were denied to those plans, which have not adhered to NBC norms on safety. The Government on December 27, 2005, issued an order to city corporations in the State making them mandatory to include NBC 2005 in the municipal bylaws.

Permission denied

They said that the corporation has refused permission to 22 high-rise buildings since May 2005 as the building plans were not in accordance with the NBC 2005 norms.

Despite this, in some areas illegal construction is going on. The Fire Department authorities have also not cleared those plans. Hence the MCC should demolish such buildings. No water and drainage connections should be given to such buildings. The Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (MESCOM) authorities should refuse power connection to such buildings.

People cautioned

They said that people in their respective wards should prevail upon corporators to work towards strict implementation of the government's December order. People should desist buying flats in unlicensed apartments. They should purchase documents only after verifying all records. They said that the forum also urged the Government to amend the Karnataka Municipal Act to give powers to local bodies to seize buildings built in violation of NBC norms.