MARGAO: After the South Goa District Collector and Chairperson of the District Disaster Management Authority, Asvin Chandru, IAS ordered the demolition of the “unsafe” building housing a footwear showroom, Madgavkars have a question or two for the Margao Municipal Council to answer – how come the civic body issued the trade licence to a footwear showroom when the structural stability report in 2018 was categorical in saying the building is unsafe for human habitation?
Even as officials heading the Municipal sections resorted to the usual blame game, the councillors and the Municipal Babus and the powers that be may have to further answer how come the civic body failed to act when the structural stability report stated that the unsafe building may collapse and result into loss of property and human life.
Structural stability report conducted by GCE
A glance at the building structural stability report prepared by the Goa College of Engineering, Farmugudi stated that the health condition of the structure is beyond repairable and retrofittable. The report had further stated that as the building is precariously standing and vehicles are being parked in front of the building, the threat due to collapse of the structure may result in loss of property and human life is not ruled out.
That’s not all. The report further stated that hanging Gl sheets from the roof may lead to casualties and pose threat to loss of property and human life, adding “several incidents of falling of loose spalled concrete, construction material have taken place (As indicated by local residents of the building during testing of the structure)”.
The report was categorical in saying the building in question has no maintenance and is very weak in general. “The 3rd floor structural members are exposed and have become weak. Structural elements are unfit for strengthening or retrofitting. Second floor structural members although are not exposed but due to leakage and non maintenance have become porous, rebars are corroded and at some places rebars are vanished. Cracks in structural members resulted in poor strength. All the members are not viable for retrofitting,” the report stated.
The report added: “First floor structural members although are not exposed but due to leakage and stagnation of water (in monsoons) and non maintenance all members have become porous, rebars are corroded and at some places rebars have vanished. Walls are damp and vegetation growth is seen. Most of the rooms are affected by fungal growth. Cracks in structural members resulted in poor strength. Spalling of concrete from structural members is a very common feature. All the members are not fit for retrofitting.”
Civic body sections resort to blame game
A blame game has erupted in the Margao Municipal Council between the technical section and the taxation section over the issuance of the trade license for a footwear showroom in a building declared unsafe way back in 2018.The Margao Municipal technical section tried to wash its hands off the controversy over the unsafe building by point blank pointing out that the issuance of trade license falls in the domain of the taxation section. Officials of the taxation section, however, beg to differ. They demanded to know how will the taxation section come to know whether a particular building is unsafe. In fact, an official attached to the taxation section point blank said the technical section should have intimated the taxation section that the building in question has been declared unsafe. “If the technical section was in receipt of the structural stability report, how come the report was not submitted to the taxation section to which we would have blocked the building in the computer by refusing to accept any application for trade licence,” the official added. After the district Collector, Asvin Chandru issued the order to demolish the building, the MMC’s technical section has sent the file to the taxation section for necessary action. In turn, the taxation section has instructed the Market inspectors to find out whether any other business activity is underway in the unsafe building other than the footwear showroom. “The MMC will move in to issue a notice revoking the trade licence issued to the shop owner. The shop owner has paid the prescribed trade licence fees to the Municipality,” an official informed.
Chairperson points fingers at civic officials
Margao Municipal Chairperson Damu Shirodkar has said the Municipal officials will be at fault if the civic has issued the trade licence to the business activity when the building has been declared unsafe.
He, however, hastened to add that he had attended the showroom inauguration function after cross checking that the showroom is being inaugurated after obtaining the trade licence.
“In the past, I had stayed away from the inauguration of a mall in my Aquem ward after I realised that they had no trade licence. In the instant case, the showroom was set up after obtaining the trade licence,” he said, adding that it is the mistake of the Municipal officials to issue the trade licence when the building was declared unsafe.