Margao: Politicos of all hues came rushing to the New Market area of the commercial capital following Tuesday morning blaze at a Municipal-owned building, to question shortcomings in the fire-fighting preparedness in and around the congested market area.
As the firemen were engaged in the fire-fighting operation and contain the fire from spreading to the hundreds of shops and stalls in the New Market, a citizen raised a pertinent question – will these same politicians come to shed crocodile tears in the event of the “unsafe building” presently playing host to a footwear showroom crumbles resulting in loss of lives and property?
Row over demolition of unsafe buildings
Well, the citizen may not be entirely wrong in raising the query given that the BJP-controlled Margao Municipal Council is presently sitting on the order passed by the District Disaster Management Authority headed by the district Collector, Asvin Chandru to demolish the “unsafe” building.
Leave alone razing down the unsafe building as per the district Collector’s order dated November 13, the Margao Municipal Council has till date not even revoked the trade licence issued to the footwear showroom.
When The Goan inquired with the MMC Taxation section over the delay in revoking the trade licence issued to the showroom and pave way for the demolition of the unsafe building, a civic official made a startling revelation – that the Taxation section has called for revoking the trade licence as per the district Collector’s order to raze down the building.
The official, however, has hastened to add that the file is presently with the Margao Municipal Chief Officer, Gaurish Sankhwalkar, who has proceeded on two-week medical leave. The Chief Officer had earlier told the media that his office will issue a notice to the owner to show cause why the trade licence issued to the showroom should not be revoked in view of the demolition order issued by the district Disaster Management Authority headed by the district collector.
“We have no idea whether the Chief Officer has disposed of the notice or whether he would hear the party after resuming office. So far, we have not heard anything from the acting Chief Officer,” the official said.
Demolition of unsafe buildings spark questions
A host of questions have come to the fore over the issue of demolition of the unsafe building. One, why is the Margao Municipal Council dragging its feet in initiating action when the building in action was declared unsafe five years ago in 2018? It’s an open secret that the MMC did not act on the structural stability report prepared by an agency in 2018 and, when the district Disaster Management Authority headed by the district Collector has ordered demolition of the building, the MMC has not moved with alacrity to execute the Collector’s order, throwing up a question whether the Chief Officer will shoulder the responsibility in the event the building crumbles down or will the politicians controlling the civic body share the blame over the inaction of the Municipality.