Another City Light tragedy looms large

Another City Light tragedy looms large

Another City Light tragedy looms large, The collapse of the City Light Hotel in 2013 was a harsh wake up call for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal...

Old buildings: 1,538
Demolished: 361
Repaired: 805
Remaining: 372

The collapse of the City Light Hotel in 2013 was a harsh wake up call for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). The corporation officials embarked on a drive to identify and demolish old and dilapidated buildings in the city. The demolition drive went on for a month and later died a natural death.
File photo of the debris of City Light hotel which crumbled last year
In the drive, as many as 1,538 old buildings, which were under the threat of collapsing, were identified. Corporation officials had demolished 361 buildings and owners of 805 buildings, who were served notices, undertook repairs and took clearance certificates later. But, there are still 372 buildings which need to be demolished.

Most of these un-demolished buildings house commercial establishments and restaurants. With monsoon, the threat of buildings collapsing looms large. A few of these buildings are in low-lying areas, which get get water logged in rains. With city seeing a rainfall of 11 cm in the past three days (according to meteorology department), experts warn of a repeat of the City Light tragedy.

Underground cellars are also prone to risks in rains. GHMC engineers had identified 130 buildings with underground cellars of which 58 were found to be dangerous. Sadly, not even notices were served to the owners of these buildings.

“There are a lot many factors to be determined, before embarking on a demolition drive of old buildings. If the owners have taken proper water proofing measures, they can be exempted. However, every building has to be carefully examined on merit before taking a decision on demolishing them. The real danger is with underground cellars. The drainage system in the city was laid during the time of Nizams and these underground cellars are blocking these pipelines. The drainage water is getting stagnated near the foundation of the buildings, which is seeping through it, making the soil soggy and is forming cracks in the foundations of the buildings. This can lead to its collapse,” said Vijay Jandhyala, director, Jandhyala Infrastructure.

Town planning officials said that they would be holding a review meeting soon to prepare a plan of action regarding old buildings and underground cellars.

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