KARACHI: A multi-storey residential building constructed “illegally” only 15 years ago in Ranchhore Line collapsed on Monday. However, no one was hurt in the incident, officials said.

They said that authorities took immediate action as soon as they got reports that Al-Ramzan Tower, located in Soomro Street near Timber Market, had developed cracks and tilted. They persuaded the residents to leave their flats before the building got collapsed.

The ground-plus-six-storey building had two shops and 19 flats where a number of families had been living since many years.

Napier SHO Jamal Leghari said that he was patrolling the area on Monday at around 10am when he came to know that a multi-storey building in Timber Market had tilted after developing many cracks.

An inquiry has been ordered to know that why a recently constructed building collapsed

He said he reached the scene and ensured that all men, women and children vacate their flats. In order to avoid any eventuality, the police also marked the building with yellow crime scene tape to prevent other people from going there.

“Forty minutes later the building collapsed but no one was injured,” said the area SHO.

The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and the city administration also present on the scene and engaged in removing debris with the help of heavy machinery.

The SHO said that it would take four to five days to clear the area of the rubble.

The SBCA also checked nearby buildings to ascertain whether they had sustained any damages or were in dilapidated condition.

The police said that the multi-storey building was constructed in 2004.

Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani, senior officer of the district administration, police and leaders of political parties also visited the spot.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah took notice of the incident and sought a report from the commissioner and SBCA.

The commissioner told Dawn that he had ordered an inquiry as to how the building constructed in 2004 was collapsed although the buildings constructed 100 years ago were still intact in the city.

He said that a fire had also broken out in the said building in 2014.

Mr Shalwani said that he also directed the authorities to trace the builder and take him to task since the building control authority claimed that it did not pass the layout plan for the construction of the said building.

He appreciated the performance of the authorities and said their timely action saved many lives.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant Waqar Mehdi, who looked after the chief minister’s inspection team (CMIT), visited the spot, met with the people and assessed the damages caused by the collapse of the building.

Talking to media, he promised a thorough probe into what he described as a regrettable incident and said strict action would be taken against whosoever, be it SBCA officials or the builder, was found responsible.

He said that the government would not leave alone the people in their testing time.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019

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