Building collapse probe to identify negligent SBCA officials begins

Published January 1, 2020
The collapse of a multi-storey “illegally-constructed” residential building in Ranchhore Line, which was raised only 15 years ago, sent ripples in the quarters concerned as the Sindh government on Tuesday ordered a “through inquiry” into the incident. — File
The collapse of a multi-storey “illegally-constructed” residential building in Ranchhore Line, which was raised only 15 years ago, sent ripples in the quarters concerned as the Sindh government on Tuesday ordered a “through inquiry” into the incident. — File

KARACHI: The collapse of a multi-storey “illegally-constructed” residential building in Ranchhore Line, which was raised only 15 years ago, sent ripples in the quarters concerned as the Sindh government on Tuesday ordered a “through inquiry” into the incident.

Officials said that the inquiry was aimed at identifying the individuals, builders and also officials of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), if any, who allowed the violations of defined rules in construction of the six-storey building.

The order to hold the inquiry came from the Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, who asked the director general of the SBCA to complete the task within a week by identifying the people responsible for the tragedy and suggest action against them.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader and Chief Minister’s Special Assistant Waqar Mehdi, who visited the spot after the incident, said the inquiry ordered by the government would mainly focus on the elements within the SBCA who were encouraging such illegal activities for vested interests.

“The inquiry into the incident will definitely help establishing a system of accountability in the institution and set an example for future as well,” said Mr Mehdi, who is looking after the Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT).

“We are also looking into the matter and will submit our report to Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah very soon. Luckily, no one was injured in the incident but we cannot ignore the serious violation of laws. We hope the inquiry will set a precedent for the future.”

On Monday afternoon, the ground-plus-six-storey building, which had two shops and 19 flats where a number of families had been living since many years, collapsed after developing cracks.

The police and the area people said that that the building in Timber Market had tilted before being collapsed. The police and rescue services of different charities had 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.

The police said that the multi-storey building was constructed in 2004.The Karachi commissioner had also 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. Mr Mehdi, meanwhile, appealed to the people to take all due care and stay cautious while making any deal in real estate.

“The government is making every possible move to streamline the documentation and legal process while the SBCA is also taking action against illegally-built structures in the city in line with the Supreme Court orders,” he claimed. “But at the same time I appeal to the people of Karachi to demand and check every required property document from builder or seller. Apart from verification of the property documents from other institution, the people should also demand for SBCA-approved layout plans and maps of the raised structures.”

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2020

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