Yet another building in the city, this time in East Bengaluru, collapsed on Thursday, leading to panic in the area. This is the third such incident in under a fortnight in Bengaluru.
Fortunately, no casualties were reported and residents of the three houses that were occupied have been evacuated along with the residents of nearby buildings as well. Civic body officials, Fire and Emergency Services personnel, and police rushed to the spot to supervise the operations.
According to officials, residents of the five-storeyed residential building, situated in Doctors Layout, Kasturinagar, started noticing the building beginning to tilt a few days ago and alerted the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). According to the BBMP, the building was sanctioned in 2012-13 under the Suvarna Paravanige scheme. The owner has been identified as Ayesha Baig.
The building, which had ground plus four floors, had a total of eight flats. The civic body said it was leaning towards east. “BBMP officials rushed to the spot and evacuated the three flats that were occupied,” a communique said, adding that five flats were vacant.
The occupants of the surrounding buildings have also been evacuated and the BBMP is planning to demolish the entire building with help from the Bengaluru City Police and Fire and Emergency Services.
The assistant engineer, Shankarappa, has been suspended for dereliction of duty. BBMP Chief Commissioner Gauav Gupta, who visited the spot, told reporters that the building was constructed on a 40x60 site as a ground-plus-two floors house. “They have built more floors after this and it looks like another penthouse has been constructed. This will be investigated. There are eight apartments, while three had residents. One of the apartments was occupied by Ayesha, the owner. Four apartments were in her name, while the building was built as a joint venture with Asif Ibrahim. The remaining four were sold to others,” he said.
The tenants are safe, and the BBMP’s demolition work of the building is expected to be completed by Friday, Mr. Gupta said. He also said that for structural stability, the two buildings on either side have been evacuated.
“We have already started a survey of such buildings. One column has collapsed and the building is resting on another building. It was either not designed properly or was designed beyond capacity,” Mr. Gupta said. Asked about how the building had no Occupancy Certificate, Mr. Gupta said the building also had water and power connections in addition to being sold to other people.
Responding to allegations of buildings being constructed on wetlands, he said, “We will take action against whoever is responsible for unsafe construction. No one will be spared — builders, contractors, or BBMP officials. Soil-bearing capacity is important here and we will get a soil investigation done. There is a moral and legal responsibility on the builders. Systemic lapses will also be dealt with. The investigation will be conducted in an impartial manner administratively and technically by the police and us,” he said.
In the Lakkasandra building tilting incident too, investigation is on, he added.
Based on complaints registered by the BBMP engineer, the police have taken up a case against the owner of the building. At the time of this report going to print, a team had been dispatched to bring the owner in for questioning.