: A portion of an 82-year-old building adjacent to the Natharshah dargah near
road in Trichy city came down crashing late on Thursday night, but luckily no casualty or injury was reported. However, the incident has exposed the vulnerability of people residing residing next to century-old buildings in old Trichy and neighbouring areas.
Corporation sources said there were about 380 such age-old buildings in different parts of the city identified as unsafe and waiting to cave in any moment.
After a weak multi-storey building on East Boulevard road collapsed on September 3, 2017, killing four people, Trichy corporation carried out a survey to identify the weak structures. Since the government buildings are taken care of by the respective departments, the civic body surveyed only residential and commercial buildings.
The results showed that as many as 398 buildings were unsafe to use in the city. While about 10 owners came forward to demolish their old buildings, aged between half-a-century and a century, near Khajapettai and Salai road, the civic body demolished a weak building on West Boulevard road in December 2017.
It was in this backdrop that the building’s balcony near Natharshah dargah caved in on Thursday night ringing fresh alarm alarm bells. There are several unsafe structures still standing amidst the densely populated locations including Madurai road, Srirangam, Woraiyur, and Palakkarai.
“The retaining wall along the balcony of the weak building near the dargah caved in. Fortunately, people were not standing underneath the structure. The civic body should identify such weak structures in other parts of the city to avert major mishaps,” a senior official with fire service department said.
Since the weak buildings, mostly built with limestone and mortar, identified by the city corporation shared their walls with buildings adjacent to them, local people said that an accident would also jeopardize the safety of nearby buildings.
Movement of heavy vehicles and vibrations caused by construction work nearby are known to harm weak structures. “We have given notices twice in the past one year to the owners of the weak buildings asking them to demolish the structures on their own. But they are hesitant citing disputes and disagreements among multiple owners of old properties,” a senior official with Trichy corporation said.
The civic body said that it would consider fencing and earmarking weak structures to prevent people from occupying them.