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Parts of 2 more VUDA towers collapse

While this crash did not result in any casualties,it certainly woke up the authorities,who have now decided to demolish all the remaining 31 towers.

Written by Aditi Raja | Vadodara |
September 28, 2013 4:04:07 am

It was horror replayed for the residents of Madhavnagar Society in Atladara on Friday,about a month after two Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA) buildings collapsed here,killing 11 people,when parts of two more towers — 18 and 19 — collapsed,leaving ominous signs of the fate of the remaining structures in the society.

While this crash did not result in any casualties,it certainly woke up the authorities,who have now decided to demolish all the remaining 31 towers. VUDA officials finally admitted that they were

contemplating a reconstruction of the structures after a thorough soil analysis of the location.

As per the last reports,authorities had razed towers 17,18 and 19. Sources say the demolition on the other towers will continue on Monday.

Around 3.30am on Friday,when the two towers collapsed,families who were evacuated following the August 28 collapse,felt sad for their neighbours of towers 18 and 19.

The crash woke up the families of these two towers,who were luckily sleeping on open ground,as the parking lots of the buildings,which they had been occupying for the past week,were flooded due to the recent downpour.

The fire department officials and disaster management teams rushed to the spot to pull down the remaining structures of the two three-storey buildings.

The crash came as a rude nudge to VUDA,who have been fobbing off requests for rehabilitation and ignoring their responsibility towards the residents of the towers. Since Friday morning,a full-scale demolition of the Madhavnagar site has begun.

“All these days,we were worried that all the towers would crash at one go and kill some of us. Luckily,no one was even hurt when the buildings crashed today,” a resident said.

While residents of both societies,who attended the meeting with VUDA officials on Tuesday evening,have turned down the offer that does not stipulate an alternate accommodation for the residents till the time the proposed new buildings are constructed,the desperate families are now willing to concede to the VUDA proposal in order to get their homes within a year.

The Indian Express had earlier reported that the authorities are planning to give away the Keshavnagar land to a builder for commercial development. A proposal in this regard will be passed in the board meeting on

October 3. VUDA Assistant Chief Engineer and Assistant Town Development Officer A C Vyas said,“We are redeveloping the Madhavnagar Society. The first step is to begin the demolition of the 31 buildings that are still standing.”

According to Vyas,the authorities are conducting a thorough soil testing to evaluate the kind of structure that can remain rooted to the ground on this particular property. “We have realised that the load bearing structure of the buildings did not work as the soil requires RCC type structures with beams. We will design the redevelopment structures bearing in mind the requirements of the land and soil once a detailed report is made. The plans are still being made.”

Interestingly,the consideration for a redevelopment of the Madhavnagar site comes at a time when investigations into the building crash are not even complete. The probe committee,headed by Manjula Subramanium,is yet to submit its official report and the police is yet to crack down on officials responsible for alleged negligence that led to the collapse of the two buildings and the resultant casualties on August 28.

Incidentally,the city police is awaiting the report from Gujarat Engineering Research Institute (GERI) for almost a month now. Investigators say that officials of Manjalpur police station,where the case has been registered,have sent two letters to the Road and Buildings Department,seeking a copy of the report.

“As per protocol,a copy of the reports has to be handed over to the police when a case is being investigated and an FIR has been filed. However in this case,even after two letters were sent within a period of one week,there is no sign of the report. We cannot arrest people until we have this report in hand. We are still waiting,” an officer said.

Meanwhile,the city unit of Congress is up in arms against the said proposal. Party spokesperson Pragnesh Tewar said,“This is a clear attempt by the authorities to distract the people’s attention from the main issue,which is the poor construction and the resulting death of the people. The Gujarat government has failed miserably and is now introducing such proposals. They have proven that the commercial angle was always part of this problem. It is why the buildings fell in the first place.”

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