Friday, June 30, 2006

Koramangala faces the axe

Koramangala faces the axe
BMP Officials Go On Demolition Drive Once Again
The Times of India

Bangalore: The axe has started falling again. Just when citizens thought that the dust had settled on the issue of building violations, BMP officials on Thursday demolished portions of four buildings at Koramangala.

In the morning, over 200 BMP personnel aided by 100 policemen brought down deviated portions at 4th and 5th block. The demolition drive is a continuation of what had started last year in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by a few residents on rampant building violations in the area.

In the wake of apparent threats and public outcry, the petitioners withdrew their PIL but a survey of the area had already been galvanised. It was found that more than 95 buildings in a single stretch had some form of violation from the sanctioned building plan.

Buildings that faced the axe apparently had violations in the range of 70% to 150%. BMP joint commissioner (east) Jayaram who led the exercise said provisional orders had been issued earlier and the team went well-prepared for any emergencies or contingencies.

With JCBs and pneumatic hammers, the team brought down the deviations. Violations include not having a setback area, non-compliance of FAR and zonal irregularities ie using a building meant for residence for commercial purposes.

The demolitions were not without drama. One of the building owners looked like he was going to faint and his staff thought it was a ‘heart attack’. But BMP personnel said it was a false alarm.

The owners of the four buildings whose violations were razed are — A T Velu, Abdul Rashid Khan, Anjaan and Arif. Of this, Khan’s building, the Halina Centre, had 150% violations, said BMP engineers. The other structures had 80%, 70% and 53% violations.


In late August last year, six residents of Koramangala filed a PIL in the high court seeking its intervention in the area which they said had changed from a peaceful neighbourhood to a commercial hub. Among the six petitioners are Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Radhakrishna, Dr Suresh Menon.

The court ordered the BMP to undertake a survey of the area, apart from the 95 buildings which came in the ambit of the PIL. Later, the court also ordered that corrective action be taken at buildings with violations at Koramangala.

This translated into demolitions. Mid-September, the BMP undertook demolitions. They could not continue the demolitions despite landing at the venue with JCBs, tractors and gangmen thanks to massive public outcry. Angry residents took to the streets with demonstrations that violations were rampant across Bangalore, so why target Koramangala alone.

Apparently bowing to pressure from the neighbourhood, the petitioners quietly withdrew the petition. But the survey of violations in the area continued.


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