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Demolition men shake illegal pillars

For the first time since a sustained campaign against rogue builders was launched more than a year ago, the civic authorities in Jamshedpur began demolishing under-construction additional floors of an apartment in a posh pocket of the city on Monday.

Located close to Beldih Lake in Dhatkidih, under the jurisdiction of Bistupur police and civic administration of Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC), Victoria Apartment has an approved building plan for G+3 floors. However, builder Tariq Ahmed Khan started raising pillars for two additional storeys two months ago in gross violation of building laws.

JNAC special officer R.N. Dwivedi said they received a tip-off from none other than the current residents of the apartment a month ago and after subsequent verification of the claim, raided the premises on Monday morning. The demolition work began around 11am and continued for five hours. Dwivedi said they would take another couple of days to bring down some dozen pillars.

According to the special officer, they had to take extra precaution to ensure that the existing apartment building did not suffer damages. “Sixteen families are living here for a decade and so, work has to be carried out slowly and steadily,” he explained.

Owners of the 16-odd flats said concerned over their own safety, they had approached not just JNAC officials, but also East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Himani Pande and Tata Steel authorities.

Nasar Firdausi, who lives on the second floor of Victoria Apartment, said he brought the illegal work to the district administration’s notice. “When the foundation of this building is laid for four floors, how can the builder raise additional storeys? It is a safety hazard and should be punishable under the law,” he said.

Police have, however, not initiated any action against builder Khan, who could not be contacted for his comment despite repeated attempts.

While this was the JNAC’s first tough stand against additional floors of an apartment, it had earlier bulldozed illegally extended buildings and sealed basements during a prolonged anti-encroachment drive last year.