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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Experts call for safer structural practices

Special Correspondent

VISAKHAPATNAM: People's representatives and experts at a round-table on Friday expressed concern over violation of norms while constructing apartment complexes, which was leading to collapse of retaining walls as witnessed in the Marripalem area recently, and called for adopting safer structural practices.

MLC M.V.S Sarma suggested that insurance be made mandatory for all constructions, and the apartment buyers, who are mostly from the middle classes, should be educated on the problems of buying structures which are suspect. He also promised to take up the issue with the officials and to raise it in the Legislative Council. 

Former president of the Vizag Architects' Association Y. Narasimha Rao said neither the builders nor masons had the technical knowledge and were unmindful of safety norms. The promoters or builders would somehow get the plan approved by the GVMC authorities and the VUDA officials.

Structural stability

Constructions on fragile hill slopes should be supervised at every stage and all the guidelines should be followed. But now, they were being observed more in breach. On top of this, the badly constructed apartments were regularised under the building penalisation scheme (BPS), which was meant solely for revenue generation by the government after collecting some fine. Neither the government nor the GVMC bothered about the structural stability, he said.

The expert architect also felt that GVMC and VUDA engineers did little to improve their knowledge as they were engrossed in files. It was puzzling how the Vaibhav Hills at Marripalem in the VUDA-approved layout had been regularised when there were so many doubts over its safety, he commented.

Both GVMC and the VUDA should think of long-term measures, he felt, and called for greater public awareness on such issues. Licence to surveyors should be issued on the recommendation of Andhra University and after plan approval, regular inspections should be made at every stage, he suggested.   

President of Praja Spandana C.S. Rao said he had moved the AP High Court against the building penalisation scheme and he would again move the HC on the Marripalem issue. He wondered how the GVMC and VUDA had given permission for such constructions.

‘Avoid hill slopes'

Also, no multi-storeyed building or apartment should be allowed on the fragile hill slopes of Visakhapatnam and soil testing should be made mandatory.

Earlier, president of the Visakhapatnam Apartment Residents' Welfare Association Ch.L.N. Sastri, who initiated the discussion, said that the issue was hanging fire since long.

General secretary A.V. Ramana Rao said that follow-up action would be initiated on the suggestions of the experts. K. Venkatapathi Raju also spoke.

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