Sunday, July 14, 2024

Over one lakh illegal buildings in Hyderabad sit on tinderbox

Twenty days into the new year and the city has already seen two major accidents pertaining to illegally constructed buildings. The first was the January 7 slab collapse of an under-construction building in Kukatpally, which killed two workers.

The latest is Thursday’s blaze that is said to have continued for almost 12 hours at Minister Road. Both buildings had structural deviations from their permitted plan, and had additional floors constructed.

Barely anything has been done to tackle the issue of illegal constructions across the city. In Hyderabad, there are over a lakh such buildings, many of which are unsafe owing to a lack of setbacks and illegal construction of extra floors, and located in dense neighbourhoods.

“There are several buildings mushrooming after getting approvals for a particular plan, and raising additional floors unscrupulously,” SGS Murthy, structural consultant and a professor at MVSR Engg College, said. “There is one in our locality in Peerzadiguda, where permission was for stilt plus one and they built three more floors. Additional floors need a certain amount of minimum plinth and setbacks for it to be stable.”

Back in 2016, GHMC had received 1.39 lakh applications for the building regularisation scheme, and the civic body is not keen on touching those structures as they are waiting to earn more than 1,150 crore in revenue when the high court lifts the stay order.

Officials say LB Nagar circle is the hub of illegal construction in the city as they received over 22,000 applications for the regularisation scheme, which was the highest. Sources said they are surveying for illegal constructions across Charminar, LB Nagar and Serilingampally zones, which would put the number to more than a thousand.

In fact, at least eight illegal constructions have cropped up at the 200-metre no-construction zone near Charminar and Mecca Masjid monuments in the past few years. Civic activists say government has used regularisation thrice to legalise illegal construction en masse.

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