TECHNICAL EXPERTISE, FINANCES AND TIME PRESENT MAJOR HURDLES IN DEMOLITION EXERCISE
GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Owners of earthquake affected buildings who have been issued notices directing the demolition of their buildings have been grappling with the problem of how to go about demolishing these buildings. The recent further collapse of one such building in Singtam has brought this issue to fore since even four months since the devastating earthquake, this substantially affected building was still awaiting proper demolition along with many other such structures. The problem seems to be time and money.
The biggest problem, officials inform, is the significant monetary expense that will be incurred by house owners who have to bring down their structures. As for the department which is to demolish the structures - the UD&HD - the problem seems to be that of time. Demolition is a time consuming process and the department does not seem to be able to go after all such houses issued notices of demolishment.
However, it is informed that the Urban Development & Housing Department has now put up a proposal to the State government suggesting that monetary assistance be provided to the house owners so that they can undertake demolition on their own. The department will be available to provide any technical assistance if necessary.
The department, after overseeing the demolition of some structures in Gangtok, discovered that it would be impossible for it to continue with the demolition of all buildings marked to be taken down throughout the State. The earthquake damaged a large number of buildings and all such cases where the structures had to be brought down were forwarded to the UD&HD.
Considering the immense time consuming process that this would be, the department, officials inform, has now proposed that the house owners be provided with monetary assistance to bring down the houses themselves. The rate of monetary assistance is yet to be ascertained.
It is also to be seen if the proposal is approved and accepted by the state government. Initially the department was pressing its own demolition squads to the task.
In fact the primary responsibility of demolishment of a house is upon the house owner, it is informed.
The owner of the collapsing house at Singtam, like other such buildings owners, had also been issued with a notice for demolition, but, as officials inform, even after 4 months had not been able to undertake it.
In such cases, especially when the structure is endangering other nearby houses and the public at large, the house owner will be held responsible and liable for any damage to life or property, informs DC, East. As regards the Singtam building, the DC, East, informed that he had called the house owner and also had a meeting with the UD&HD engineer following which the house owner has begun demolishing the building which is right in the heart of Singtam bazaar.