Building collapse could have been averted, say residents

Updated - March 25, 2016 01:58 am IST

Published - November 23, 2015 12:00 am IST

Dark clouds seen over the city that is expecting more rain in thenext two days

Dark clouds seen over the city that is expecting more rain in thenext two days

The collapse of a dilapidated building wall, resulting in the death of a 23-year-old youth in Pattalam, was waiting to happen, but it could have been averted, say residents living on the street when the incident took place before sunrise on Sunday.

Raj, working for a property portal in Guindy, was sleeping in his house in Parasuraman Street when the incident took place. The house, like many others on the street, had asbestos roofing. A loud noise of a huge mass of concrete that came down on the house woke up residents, and they panicked.

Chandran, living on the street, said residents of the house that was damaged had been requesting its owners to demolish it. It was several decades old, Mr. Chandran said. A few months ago, some workers had begun the demolition work, but it was left mid-way.

“Those living there (the house that was damaged) pleaded with the owners of the old building to demolish it before an accident. The heavy rain that lashed the city for the past one week expedited up the collapse. What we feared has happened and we have lost a young, innocent life,” he said.

Residents were also unhappy with the Chennai Corporation for not taking any steps on complaints from residents of Parasuraman Street.

The incident, residents said, is only a pointer to the state of decades-old buildings that dot places like Ayanavaram, Kosapet, Pattalam, Purasawalkam, Sowcarpet, Seven Wells and Otteri.

Most of the occupants of these buildings were poor, who could not afford to live elsewhere paying huge amounts of rent, they added.

Chennai Corporation has started the survey of dilapidated buildings in the city.

Tales of tragedy

The northeast monsoon brings along with it, a trail of destruction too. Building collapses resulting in loss of innocent lives have become an annual feature in Chennai:

November 2013: Six workers killed as wall collapses on huts in Chinnapuliyur village near Gummidipoondi

March 2013: Temple tank's wall collapses on Armenian Street, killing two people

December 2012: Two men killed after compound wall of school collapses in Royapuram

November 2012: Two men killed after a weak wall of house collapses in Tondiarpet

August 2012: Ten workers die in wall collapse at construction site of a basketball court in Sriperumbudur

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