Exactly a year after the Shahberi twin building collapse, the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) has shortlisted a private agency to demolish all illegal and unsafe buildings in the area. To start with, five commercial buildings will be razed — likely in a month’s time — with help from the district administration and police, officials said.
“We have shortlisted a private agency that can carry out all kinds of demolition, including controlled ones for high-risk structures that may be slanting,” said Narendra Bhooshan, the CEO of GNIDA on July 18.
“We initially plan to demolish five commercial buildings in the area. Since Shahberi has residential land use, these commercial buildings are violating land-use norms as well as hampering safety,” he said.
Additional CEO KK Gupta said they wrote to the administration two days ago, asking for support to evacuate the entire Shahberi area and relocate the residents.
The decision traces its roots to the twin building collapse on July 17 last year, in which nine people were killed. The accident lifted the veil off rampant unauthorized construction and sale of properties in the area — right under the nose of all agencies concerned — despite a court order banning the practice in 2014.
Officials said that all buildings in Shahberi are illegal and unsafe and would eventually have to be demolished. With the onset of monsoon, the Authority has warned residents to be extra vigilant.
“We can only ask residents to be responsible for their own safety if they are living in an unauthorized area. The builder mafias have not provided proper drainage, so the rainwater accumulates affecting the foundation of these buildings in Shahberi. We’ve already filed 250 cases against these builders,” said Bhooshan.
The Authority is also working on the district magistrate’s suggestion to drill holes in the constructed or occupied buildings to make them uninhabitable. Officials, however, said that the engineers have suggested that such buildings can be occupied later with some patchwork, and is not a permanent solution.
The Authority is also in the process of surveying the number of illegal structures in Shahberi and categorizing them according to the size. But as per an estimate, there are around 1,000 buildings that have ground plus two floors and about 450 buildings that are four or five-storeyed. Over 5,000 home buyers have invested in properties in Shahberi.
“All building that has come up in Shahberi area is illegal. However, we are still deciding on what could be done regarding the residential buildings. Our priority is to demolish all the commercial structures as they are clearly dangerous and illegal,” said the CEO of the GNIDA.
On May 21, a case filed by Shahberi residents was quashed by the UP Real Estate Regulatory Authority (UP-Rera) stating that Shahberi does not come under its purview. The residents have now appealed to the Rera appellate tribunal in Lucknow.
“We just cannot let our homes destroyed. We will take the matter to court as we can now see how all authorities, builders and the administration have cheated and misguided us. We have invested our hard-earned money in these homes,” said Abhinav Khare, a resident of Shahberi.
Snehil Sinha, Economic Times, Delhi/NCR