Victims seek probe, ask for demolision of apartments built against law

Neighbours of high-rises have demanded to investigate the apartments, if they have followed the building code and criterion. Asking to formulate new building code based on the lessons learnt from recent earthquakes, they also called for demolishing the buildings that have been built violating the government rules. “The buildings that were constructed without following the building code should be pulled down,” they said in a press note of the struggle committee.
The high-risers forming 21-member apartment victims’ joint struggle committee today demanded that the government conduct a probe by forming a high-level committee, and penelise those involved in constructing apartments against the government criterion.
The joint struggle committee demanded that the government provide assurance of security to the people living close to the apartments and also to people who live in those buildings.
The 7.8-magnitude devastating earthquake of April 25 and subsequent aftershocks have created huge panic among the people living close to tall apartments, and in apartments too.
Cautioning that tall buildings must not be allowed in areas with dense population, they have also suggested government to allocate separate areas for high-rises.
The government has recently instructed developers to maintain and retrofit to strengthen the structure according to the government-fixed building code. The government has so far issued permits to construct 70 apartments. But some 41 apartments have been completedly and occupied by the people.
Department of Urban Development and Building Construction – after the earthquakes – has done a rapid assessment of 41 apartments of 27 projects. The assessment has revealed that a majority of apartments are not habitable due to the damages caused to the buildings.
Of the total assessed apartments by the department, only eight apartments have received green sticker, which certifies them as liveable, two apartments were issued red stickers meaning unsafe to live in for serious damage and some 31 apartments yellow stickers for damages that made the building infrastructure unfit for immediate use or limited use.
The committee – that has people living close to 13 apartments – has also asked to stop maintenance on damaged apartments until there is detailed assessment and appropriate solution.
The 13 apartments against which neighbours are up in arms include Westar Apartment, Balkumari; Sunrise Apartment, Nakkhu; Bagmati Apartment, Sankhamul; Downtown Apartment, Jawalakhel; Classic Tower, Satdobato; Cityscape, Hattiban; Guna Colony, Gwarko and Mero City, Hattiban.
Due to the damage caused by the quake to the high-risers, people living around them have been forced to spend sleepless nights.
According to president of the committee Ganesh Man Singh Karki, some more victims affected by apartments are also joining soon. “We have decided to meet again on Monday and come up with protest programmes,” he added.
According to initial estimate of the developers, they have incurred around Rs 7.5 billion to Rs 8 billion losses due to the damages from the earthquakes.