Ludhiana, April 6
The roof collapse of an auto spares unit here has left the Municipal Corporation red-faced with the role of officials of the building branch being questioned. Experts are wondering as to how the illegal construction, especially lifting of lintel with jack machines, was allowed without any official intervention.
Meanwhile, the Ludhiana police have arrested unit owner Jaswinder Singh Sonu, while contractor Mohd Harun is on the run.
Experts say the fatal roof collapse on Monday that left four dead and nine injured, or for that matter the 2017 plastic factory collapse after a blaze that killed 16 persons, are the direct outcome of “slack enforcement” and “collusion” of staff and officials of the regulatory mechanism of MC.
Sources in the MC said around 15,000 illegal buildings, mostly commercial and industrial, had been constructed in the city without approved building plans and/or in gross violation of building bylaws. “In most of these buildings, standard safety norms have been compromised,” they said.
Kapil Arora, president, Council of Engineers (CoE), said the mishap took place due to negligence of MC officials and employees who failed to perform their duty diligently. “Had timely action been taken to stop an illegal construction of this extent, the tragedy could have been averted,” he said.
He said lifting of existing roof/building was a common practice in various countries, but with advanced technology and equipment as it saved time and cost of construction. “In Ludhiana, such lifting is commonly performed using jacks, loose bricks and wooden logs only, which is wrong and highly risky. It can turn out to be dangerous and also fatal if not done after proper structural analysis of existing buildings as the strength and condition of the building plays a major role in such highly risky practice,” Arora said.