Sikkim: Govt Funds to demolish quake-damaged buildings

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Gangtok: February 7, 2012

The September 19 earthquake in Sikkim had left thousands of houses damaged and extremely dangerous for the inhabitants to live in them.

Requiring to be demolished, the Urban Development and Housing Department (UDHD) grappling with the enormity of the problem, has suggested that funds be provided to house owners for carrying out demolition on their own.

The damaged buildings issued notice were at risk of collapse as was the case with one at Singtam, about 30 km from here, four months after the quake.

UDHD sources said that the biggest problem was the significant monetary expense to be incurred by house owners to bring down their structures.

On the other hand, demolition by the UDHD was a time consuming process and the department was unable to take up demolition of the large number of houses that had been issued notice. The Department, the sources said, has therefore placed a proposal with the state government suggesting that monetary assistance be provided to house owners for undertaking demolition on their own.

The department would provide any technical assistance if necessary, they said.

The department, after overseeing the demolition of some structures in Gangtok, discovered that it would be impossible for it to continue with the demolition of all buildings marked to be taken down throughout the state.

The large number of buildings damaged by the earthquake and needed to be pulled down were forwarded to the UDHD.

Considering the time consuming process that this would entail, the sources said that a proposal has been given that house owners be provided with monetary assistance to bring down their houses themselves.

The rate of monetary assistance was yet to be ascertained.It was also to be seen if the proposal was approved and accepted by the state government, the sources said.

The primary responsibility of demolishing a house rested upon the house owner, they said.

In such cases, especially when the structure was endangering other nearby houses and the public at large, the house owner would be held responsible and liable for any damage to life or property, the DC, East said.

PIC: Local residents walk past a damaged school in Chungthang on September 21, 2011 after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit the region on September 19. (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)




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