After downpour and damage, GDA gets down to seal illegal buildings

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Ghaziabad : The Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) has woken up, finally! But not before collapese of houses killed several persons, rains washed away a road, flats were evacuated for fear of more building collapse and vehicles drowned in parking lots.

Now the GDA has started taking steps to fix the infrastructural errors in both low- and high-rise buildings across the city.

GDA Vice Chairperson and District Magistrate Ritu Maheswari on Friday directed builders, contractors and authority's engineers to launch a survey on a war-footing to detect violation of building construction norms.

V.N. Singh, GDA Chief Engineer, said: "We have launched a survey of haphazardly developed buildings and infrastructures without the approval of GDA. In the first phase, our teams found 139 buildings with violation of rules. All the 139 buildings have since been sealed."

"Even the buildings of influential persons have been sealed," Singh emphasised.

"Since the "Kanwar Yatra" is going to begin, the demolition drive has been put off. Once the annual pilgrimage is over, the GDA will resume the drive to demolish illegal buildings," the Chief Engineer added.

On the other hand, Ghaziabad Municipal Commissioner C.P. Singh has opened a 24-hour help centre, with Assistant Municipal Commissioner Pramod Kumar Singh as the nodal officer. His can be reached at mobile number 8178016801.

Some assistants have also been deputed to attend public complaints. They can be reached on 8178016820 and 9219555568, while the toll-free number is 18001803012.

On the second day of rains on Friday, a wall collapsed in Raj Nagar Extension area adjoining a housing society. The repair work was initiated instantly even as filling of land near two societies in Vasundhara -- that had caved in on Thursday -- was progressing satisfactorily.

Meanwhile, people in Vijay Nagar locality here were forced to hire divers to get their vehicles out of flooded parking lots. The divers charged anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 to bring out each vehicle from the flooded areas, depending on the size of vehicle as well as the owner's pocket.

During the day, District Magistrate Ritu Maheswari also called media persons to the elevated road -- parts of which were said to be flooded after the downpour on Thursday to show them the reality. She said that the videos showing knee-deep water on the newly-constructed road were fake and aimed to create panic.

There were no traces of waterlogging on the UP Gate-Raj Nagar Extension Elevated Road on Friday and it was fully operational.