Two days after Manipur was rocked by an earthquake, authorities here have restricted movement of people and vehicles within a 20-metre radius of buildings that have been marked as unsafe by experts of the disaster management department.
The state government is getting a three-member team from IIT Roorkee on Thursday to assess the tremor’s impact on major buildings and other structures, which included two blocks of Ima Keithel, an all-women market which provides livelihood to over 4,000 women vendors.
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Authorities have so far identified 339 buildings and structures, including government offices, private properties and a bridge, as damaged. Some blocks of the old secretariat, the BSNL office and the Govindajee Temple located inside Kangla Fort have developed major cracks.
The state government has held National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) responsible for alleged poor quality of work leading to major damages in two of the three blocks of Ima Keithel. State works minister K Ratankumar said that while there was no damage to the third block of the market complex constructed by the state PWD, the two blocks that suffered were built by the NBCC.
“We have already conveyed this to the central government and they are sending a team to assess the damage,” Ratankumar said.
Over 1,200 of the 4000-odd women vendors of Ima Keithel have become idle after the authorities ordered shutting down one block completely and another partially following the earthquake.
While the vendors have demanded allocation of alternative space till the two blocks are repaired, the state BJP unit has demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged poor quality of work. “The government should immediately institute a CBI inquiry into the allegations of poor work quality in construction of Ima Keithel,” state BJP chief Th Chaoba said. The centuries-old market was rebuilt and inaugurated by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in November 2011. “How could the newly-constructed two blocks suffer such damage when nothing major has happened to hundreds of older buildings in the city?” the BJP state president asked.