Yet another building collapsed in Karachi. This time it was a multi-storey building in the residential area of Golimar, and the incident involved two other adjoining buildings. According to reports, construction work was in progress on the top floor of the ill-fated building which was already housing several families. The incident left about 27 people dead and over a dozen injured.
Such incidents have been taking place in the megapolis from time to time. Though enquiries were ordered by the bigwigs and reports were also submitted in some cases, the relevant authorities have been failing to fix responsibility against the quarters concerned. To know about the reasons behind such fatal collapses is not a rocket science. Even a layman can safely say the building regulators and the law enforcers have been “lenient”. This simple statement has different connotations but leads to the truth that builders, either the “needy” individuals or the cartel of so-called developers, disrespect the relevant laws, while the whistleblowers prefer to overlook such matters.
It is high time that the Sindh government rise to the occasion and take curative measures, otherwise managing building affairs, which were undermined for the first time after the fall of an under construction plaza in Federal B Area in 70s, will hardly draw any success. Government is once again required to show distance with the shabby quarters, including the mindless builders and contractors and irresponsible or greedy controlling officers.
The city of Karachi housing over 20 million people deserves special attention in many contexts, particularly in the housing and building sectors. According to a report, Karachi and Hyderabad regions have over 450 buildings that are standing for long despite being declared dangerous by the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and should have been vacated immediately.
In the case of Karachi, such dilapidated buildings or residential units are located in Saddar town, including Civil and Ranchore lines quarters, Ramswami, Lawrence, Serai, Rambagh and Saddar Bazar quarters, besides Keamari, Malir, and Liaquatabad. Perhaps, the SBCA’s warnings went unheard as those were not compatible with the aspirations and practical conditions of the residents of such buildings. The authorities need to revisit the relevant rules and take decisions accordingly. Nothing is precious than human life and there is a need to do more in this regard on an emergent basis to prevent avoidable incidents.
Besides, adequate maintenance of high-rise buildings and other housing projects is another aspect that needs to be addressed in Karachi, particularly in the wake of various environmental issues, including global warming, water and air pollution. Various surveys have suggested that builders and developers need to switch to sustainable architecture and green buildings for the sake of both the nature and the occupants of flats and apartments.
Hopefully, the Sindh government will move to devise a mechanism to give builders a framework vis-à-vis resource efficiency, waste reduction, human risks, environmental risks and environmental pollution prevention.