While the current year is plagued by coronavirus, it is also a year of a series of building collapse in Karachi. A week ago, two buildings collapsed in Karachi. One was in Korangi Town and the other in Lyari’s Koyla Godam.
Two months ago, two buildings had collapsed in Gulberg and Lyari’s Khadda Market. In all these tragedies dozens of lives were lost, while several people got injured. Even a whole family died in such incident.
The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) is responsible for all these tragedies, because this authority is not functioning properly. The SBCA is a regulatory and supervisory body whose prime function is to help, protect and develop the built environment by ensuring implementation of building regulations.
But, unfortunately, the SBCA has ignored its duty. Buildings are being built but with zero safety. There are thousands of dilapidated buildings in Karachi which can cause a lot of causalities. Therefore, it is better to vacate these buildings and they should be demolished.
In some areas, the SBCA has been sending notices to old building owners. But the collapse of buildings will not stop by only giving notices and paying no attention to these old structures. The SBCA should get rid of the corrupt elements within its ranks.
The SCBA should focus particularly on Lyari where many new buildings are being built, that too illegally. For example, on a 90-yard plot of land, the owner has made seven floors, while only ground plus one can be built on such a small piece of land. Making so many floors on such small land is extremely dangerous.
Besides, the builders encroach upon some land during the construction because of which streets are getting narrow. But nobody cares. We really should not want our Karachi to become a dangerous concrete jungle.
The Sindh chief minister, the local government minister and the SBCA director-general should check all unlawful construction.
Nuzhat Tariq Usman
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2020