Guidelines to ramp up demolition

  • Three districts in Kathmandu Valley declared crisis zone for a year
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jun 14, 2015-

The government has endorsed the guidelines for demolition of public and private properties damaged by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks.

In view of speeding up the demolition drive, the government on Sunday declared the quake-ravaged Kathmandu Valley a crisis zone for a year before starting demolition of quake-weakened structures—mainly public and private houses.

The guidelines require owners to demolish structurally weakened structures that risk public movement and safety. The government will provide equipment and expertise on the owners’ request which they will have to pay for later. “The Chief District Officer shall be able to order demolition of structures. If the owner or operator of the concerned building refuses to tear it down despite getting the report from the technical committee or the central directing committee, the CDO will give orders to remove such structures,” read the guidelines.

The government will charge the owner for the demolition of such buildings. “In case of buildings that need to be removed immediately but the owner or operator is not in contact, the CDO shall have rights to order their removal.”

Despite the safety concerns of people living near damaged structures, few owners have actually pulled down their houses. The government faces difficulty in demolishing high-rises.

The announcement comes in view of the slow pace of removing quake-hit houses in the Valley compared to the severely affected districts outside. “We see little progress in tearing apart structures in the three districts of Kathmandu Valley. This announcement is aimed at easing the demolition,” said General Administration Minister Lalbabu Pandit.

Officials said people outside the Valley have already torn down most of their damaged buildings. In Kathmandu, the house owners seemed to be reluctant. “So far, we have demolished 850 houses in the affected districts. The task will gain momentum with the government approving the guidelines,” said Shiva Hari Sharma, joint-secretary at the Urban Development Ministry.

For the purpose, the government has formed a central coordination committee comprising officials from Urban, Physical Planning, Home and Local Development ministries and top officials from Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police. In districts, the CDO and senior engineers from municipality and respective wards are mandated to decide whether a building needs demolition.

In Kathmandu, the local administration estimates that 1,700 cement houses need to be rebuilt while the number will shot up when mud-stone houses are counted. Till date, the Kathmandu District Administration Office

has demolished 300 three-storey houses. “We lack equipment to demolish houses taller than that,” said CDO Eknarayan Aryal.

Published: 15-06-2015 07:55

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