382 unsafe buildings in old areas of Karachi: report

The Sindh government on Monday decided to establish a separate authority to develop a master plan for the urban areas and other regions in the province, reported The News.

A meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah was held in Karachi. A draft bill titled the ‘Sindh Urban and Regional Master Plan Authority; has been finalised and forwarded to the Sindh law department.

The bill would now be presented by the Sindh local government secretary in a meeting of the Sindh cabinet. Once passed, the law would separate the master plan department from the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA).

Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani informed the meeting that buildings were being constructed illegally in old areas of the city. He said that people had been constructing up to five-storey buildings in the metropolis.

He further told the participants of the meeting that the construction of illegal buildings was yet to be stopped despite a recent incident of a building collapse in Timber Market, leaving the residents without a shelter.

Separately, the SBCA director general told the meeting that the building in question in Timber Market area had been declared unsafe for living prior to the incident, however, the occupants had refused to vacate it.

He said the old areas of the city still had 382 dangerous buildings and advertisements had been published in newspapers to make people aware of the issue.

The Sindh chief secretary then asked the relevant officials to take due lawful action against the builders responsible for the construction of unsafe buildings in the city.

Building collapses in Karachi’s Ranchor Line

Last month a six-storey building in the metropolis’ Ranchore Lane area collapsed after it started leaning sideways before crumbling to dust.

The building, which was constructed 12 years ago and housed 25 flats as well as a couple of warehouses, was reportedly illegal as only its first floor had been approved in the original 1987 architectural plan.

Officials present at the site opined that substandard material was used in the construction, which led to the building’s decrepit state and eventual collapse. The building had also experienced a fire in the past, as per its residents, and repair work had been done prior to that.