LUCKNOW: Six-year-old Mustafa lost his mother and grandmother in Alaya apartment collapse, a building which was declared illegal and ordered to be demolished back in 2010. Had LDA executed the order back then, Mustafa’s childhood would have been different.
Last year, four persons perished in the fire at Levana Suites hotel, which was located just a km away from Alaya apartment. The LDA had ordered the hotel’s demolition only after the fire incident saying came up against the rules. The fire department too said that fire safety measures were not adequate in the hotel, and later FIR were lodged against the hotel owners.
Another set of inquiries and FIRs were ordered after fire at two hotels in Charbagh in 2018 in which six persons died. During the probe it was found that in July 2013 LDA court had ordered the demolition of the two hotels but it was never implemented. In July 2019, LDA partially demolished the two hotels, and served notices to 11 officials and employees, who were posted in the zone. Of these, two officers, an IAS and a PCS, were with the LDA on deputation when the fire broke out. However, even after four years, no concrete action has been taken against officials who were found prima facie responsible for the lapses.
According to sources in LDA, there are more than 10,000 demolition orders pending at execution level against the illegal structures — some of them date back to the early 2000s. There is hardly a crackdown on rampant violation of the fire safety norms in commercial and residential complexes across the city.
Speaking to TOI, additional secretary of LDA Gyanendra Verma said, “Currently we are focused on the Alaya apartment incident. If the order of demolition was issued in 2010, then it should have been executed. We are trying to ascertain why the order was not executed?” “Files on the apartment are being searched in LDA’s record room, to find the culprit responsible for the leniency,” he added.
Asked if LDA has identified the accused staff involved in leniency of executing the demolition order of Alaya apartment, LDA vice-chairperson Indramani Tripathi said, “A probe has been called and action will be taken further.”
Divisional commissioner Roshan Jacob said, “For two days, we were trying to save as many lives as possible and that was not the time to trace responsibility of officers from 2010 to 2023.” She expressed her regret over the three deaths. “The loss of three lives was unfortunate and sad,” she added. An officer said, “There are illegal commercial and residential structures in the city, but due to various reasons, including stay orders from court and protests by locals, demolition orders often get stalled. Therefore, we go for an alternative way. We try to persuade the defaulter (building owner) to amend the structure according to building by laws, as demolition structures will make one third of the city into ruins.”

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