No building by-laws, unregulated construction booming in Khoda

Ghaziabad: 27 Aug, 2019 (Hindustan Times)

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HUGE RISK With little area left for housing, people have started constructing six-seven storey buildings even on small plots

› All houses were built in an unplanned manner over the past 30 to 35 years as Khoda was a gram sabha. The trend continues till date. AMI CHAND, councillor, ward 15
› The manner in which buildings are being built in Khoda, it is giving us sleepless nights, especially during the monsoon season. KK BHADANA, CEO, Khoda Palika
› The streets have become so narrow that a bulky man walking down a Khoda locality will find it difficult to turn around. MANISH KUMAR, Khoda resident

GHAZIABAD: The collapse of a fivestorey building in Khoda last July highlighted the need for declaring Khoda in Ghaziabad a regulated area, with a view to curb haphazard construction of buildings.

 The haphazard construction in Khoda. On August 12, a four-storey building developed cracks and tilted in Khoda’s Lokpriya Vihar. 

The locality, spread over 425 hectares and accommodating a population of about 1.9 lakh (as per the 2011 Census) in 40,000 houses, still has no building by-laws to regulate construction and buildings as high as six to seven storeys have come up on plots as small as 70 metres. 

The building collapse at Lokpriya Vihar in Khoda on July 27, 2018, came on the heels of another five-storey building collapse in Akash Nagar near Masuri, which led to the death of two persons. The Khoda authorities, just before the collapse incident, had got the building vacated and thus prevented any loss of life.

The then district magistrate on August 21, 2018, had written to the UP Housing & Urban Planning Department to declare Khoda a regulated area in order to check unplanned growth. As many as 95 buildings were sealed in a drive that followed the collapse. 

“All houses were constructed in an unplanned manner over the past 30 to 35 years as Khoda was a gram sabha. The trend continues till date. If one wants to construct a house or a multistoreyed building, one only has to arrange the funds and begin the work. There is no requirement of a map clearance. There is no regulation on buildings as such. But the nagar palika has issued instructions that houses should not go beyond ground plus three storeys,” Ami Chand, a councillor from Khoda’s ward 15, said. 

“Even if Khoda is notified as a regulated area or gets notified under the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA), the earlier unplanned buildings will continue to pose a risk,” Chand said.

On August 12 this year, another four-storey newly constructed building developed cracks and tilted in Lokpriya Vihar. The building was constructed on a plot of about 70 square metres, officials said. The officials later demolished two of the upper storeys and lodged an FIR against the owner. 

“The manner in which buildings are being built is giving us sleepless nights, especially during the monsoon. From our end, we try to ensure that people do not construct beyond ground plus three storeys. This is done under our powers in view of public safety,” KK Bhadana, chief executive officer, Khoda nagar palika, said. 

In July 2018, the state officials had directed the district magistrate to check the parameters for notifying Khoda as a regulated area. Later on January 4, a recommendation was sent by the town planning department to the state officials that Khoda could be declared a regulated area. The government communication also recommended that Khoda could be notified under the Ghaziabad Development Authority. However, things have not moved forward since January 2019.

According to officials, Khoda has no more area free for housing. “In such a scenario, people have started constructing multistoreyed buildings. The unplanned buildings also pose a risk of collateral damage. We have about 42,000 houses in Khoda and it is estimated that in the coming years, the figure will rise to about 70,000 as people are constructing multi-storeyed buildings near roads which have a width of about 10-20 feet,” Bhadana said.

“This has led to a situation where the streets have become so narrow that a bulky man will find it very difficult to turn around. Since it is close to Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad, there is rampant but unplanned housing growth,” Manish Kumar, a resident of Azad Vihar, Khoda, said.

Anita C Meshram, divisional commissioner, during her recent visit to Ghaziabad, said, “We will check the required recommendation and documents on Khoda. Officials will be asked to check and apprise us about the issue.”

In case Khoda is declared a regulated area under the UP (Regulations of Building Operations) Act, 1958, it will prevent improper layout of land, haphazard construction of buildings or growth of substandard colonies and will ensure development and expansion, as per plans.

Asheesh Shivpuri, chief architect & town planner, GDA, said, “If Khoda is brought under the GDA, the control and regulation will be as per GDA by-laws. The GDA will also sanction maps, infrastructure development and also prepare the zonal plan.”