Toll at 5,bulldozers roll into walled city

A day after an illegal five-storeyed under-construction building in Kalupur came crashing down killing five people,bulldozers from the municipal corporation rolled into the walled city area and brought down at least five illegal buildings on Saturday.

Written by Tanvir A Siddiqui | Ahmedabad | Published:January 30, 2011 4:08 am

A day after an illegal five-storeyed under-construction building in Kalupur came crashing down killing five people,bulldozers from the municipal corporation rolled into the walled city area and brought down at least five illegal buildings on Saturday.

Municipal commissioner I P Gautam said demolition of seven illegal houses have been ordered in the central zone.

He said the spurt in illegal construction in the walled city began in 2005,when the civic body allowed residents to repair their buildings damaged in the 2001 earthquake.

“What they do after getting permission for repairs is that they demolish half of the wall from top of a house and then build it again to a much higher level,threatening the foundations that are not strong enough to hold the additional weight,” Gautam said.

Pressed for names of local politicians who colluded in these illegal constructions,the civic chief said,“Since all know them,I do not want to reveal their names.” The civic body has also begun surveying all constructions in the five wards of the central zone that are going on in the name of house repairs.

Meanwhile,one more body was recovered from the rubble at the crash site late on Friday,pushing the death toll to five. The deceased was identified as Mohammad Yunus Gulam Rasul Sheikh and his age has not been ascertained as yet.

The fire department had to reportedly stop its search operations on Saturday after locals in Kalupur started a protest against the builder of the ill-fated building.

No one is sure if there are more people still trapped under the rubble. Chief Fire Officer MS Dastoor said,“Today,we couldn’t carry out any search in the debris or otherwise because people had blocked the area from outside. They were agitating against the builder.”

The builders,brothers Munaf Bata and Hamid Bata and their associate Mehboob Beig,who were booked for culpable homicide,are still on the run.

Inspector R C Chaudhari said the police are collecting samples of the mud and other debris from the spot,which would be given to the forensic lab for a detailed probe. We are also trying to trace the engineers who worked on the project with the builders. “They are also responsible,” he said.

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