The collapse of a concrete slab in Margao raises open critical questions


MARGAO

A day after concrete collapsed, endangering lives, the busy market road below the old building is cordoned off to prevent debris from falling on road users and vendors.

The debatable question, however, remains unanswered – how will authorities go about cordoning off busy thoroughfares and secondary roads in and around the dilapidated building that dots the commercial capital?

That’s not all. The chief officer of the municipality of Margao, Manuel Barreto, was quick to give seven days’ notice to the owner of the building to submit the certificate of structural stability within seven days, again raising the question of how the civic body will go about obtaining the owners of dozens of old and dangerous buildings. structures to submit structural stability certificates.

Or, will the civic body wait for unsafe buildings to collapse, like the one that collapsed in July 2021 near Gandhi Market or the last one on busy Pimpalkatta Road, to send notices to property owners so that they submit the certificates of structural stability?

Records show that whenever an old building or its part collapses in the city, the Margao Municipality eagerly moves in citing Section 190 of the Goa Municipalities Act 1968, ordering the owner to vacate. the building and submit structural stability. certificate.

On this point, the Municipality of Margao may have to wrestle with a simple question – whether the civic body will only act in the event of a building collapse and whether the Goa Municipalities Act empowers not the local agency to take preventive measures to ensure public safety. .

Investigations have revealed that the municipality of Margao originally compiled a list of 22 ancient buildings during a survey last conducted about a decade ago. According to the sources, the number of old buildings listed in the city is now down to about half a dozen.

Questions are being raised as to whether these buildings have all received the structural stability certificates, certifying that they are safe for occupancy. And, if there is no political will to know the number of old and dilapidated buildings that pose a risk to the lives of citizens as well as motorists.

A stroll through the city, however, would reveal the exact opposite as you come across old and dilapidated buildings, some of which are unoccupied but pose a hazard to pedestrians and motorists. Surprisingly, many of these buildings did not find a mention in the list of dangerous buildings compiled by the Margao City Council about a decade ago.

According to the former municipal president of Margao, Savio Coutinho: “The list of dilapidated buildings compiled by the civic body is not based on any criteria. When we took a look at the list, we realized that most of the buildings on the list were the ones that the property developers were looking for.

He added: “The municipality owes an explanation to Madgavkars as to how come the buildings which do not find a mention in the list of dilapidated buildings are collapsing.”

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