LAHORE: Six people died while others were rescued in time with the collapse of a house in Bhatti Gate area of Walled City Lahore whereas, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) claims that the roof collapsed because of the negligence of a resident who was altering the rooftop without approval and technical assessment of the WCLA, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The house that collapsed was house number B-184 in Muhallah Islam Khan inside Bhatti Gate and the owner was Umer Hayat. Reportedly, the size of the house was 3 marla consisting ground floor with two upper storeys and a parapet wall.
Further, it was learnt through a reliable source that three families were residing with two guests in the house when the incident happened while a labourer and a mason were also present as they were repairing the roof that had been damaged in the recent heavy rains.
On inquiring about the incident from Umer Hayat’s neighbours, it was revealed that the owner was carrying out repair works on his own and had not involved the WCLA in the process whereas, they also said that it was an old building showing obvious chances of its collapse.
The neighbours also mentioned that the WCLA team had visited the property three days before its collapse and the residents were asked to refrain from construction without the authorities approval.
Sources on location said that the owner was at fault as he was using iron beams for repairing the roof and the roof could not bear the weight. Additionally, it was also an old building which had to be repaired with different techniques.
Sources living in the area further added that WCLA had prepared a list of dangerous and dilapidated properties but they were not very serious about the maintenance of old buildings and were concentrating on Delhi Gate area and other monuments whereas, Bhatti gate was an important place in the old city which should have been restored years ago.
WLCA Building Control Assistant Director Usman Diwan said, “That warning notice along with a hukamnama were served a day before the incident when the owner had started repairing the building without seeking prior permission from the authority. “It is important to get an NOC from WCLA so that we can guide the residents about the nature and conditions of the building. The owner was using a material which was not suitable for that kind of building”, he said.
“After consulting district administration and police officials, an application for an FIR has been submitted against the owner. WCLA reached the location within no time. The remaining part of the house which can prove to be a danger is in the process of demolition by the authority to avoid any further mishap” Diwan added.