Kerala

Technical panels to hear complaints of safety

Threats posed to old and small structures due to reckless digging and piling

Technical committees comprising experts of prominent engineering colleges would come to the aid of rural and urban local bodies for addressing complaints of safety threats posed to old and small structures due to reckless digging and piling.

Local Self-Government Department sources told The Hindu that there had been a surge of complaints from all over the State about the hazards thrown up to old buildings, mostly residential, in rural and urban local bodies mainly on account of piling and digging of plots for constructing huge structures.

Once a major project comes up, the relatively small and rather old structures in the neighbourhood sustain damage because they cannot bear the impact of piling and digging. Much more than in rural areas, the trend was mostly prevalent in the urban locales. Once the cities started expanding, there was an increase in complaints from the rural local bodies too, the sources said.

Building rules

The Kerala panchayat and municipal building rules were armed with adequate provisions to ensure the safety as well as conservation of such buildings in all areas. It had laid down guidelines on safety norms and also for awarding compensation for those sustaining any loss.

Each local body had a panel with the secretary concerned as convener and an engineer, a structural engineer and a geo technical engineering expert as members to handle complaints about safety threats.

Over a period of time most of the technical committees in most of the local bodies either became defunct or failed to act as envisaged by the rules. This eventually led to a surge in the number of complaints and the government entrusted the Directors of Panchayat and Urban Affairs to study and suggest a panacea to the issue.

The committee

The reports suggested expansion of technical committees comprising the local body secretary and the district town planner and proposed to include experts of prominent institutions such as the College of Engineering, Trivandrum; TKM Engineering College, Kollam, and such others for expediting the functioning of the complaint redressal mechanism. The government has also released a list of institutions in each district from where experts could be drawn for the purpose.

Compared to the earlier system of having bureaucrats, the decision to rope in experts from major educational institutions is expected to pep up the functioning of the committees, the sources said.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:26:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/technical-panels-to-hear-complaints-of-safety/article28689166.ece

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