The Death Bed: Canacona Building Disaster

GoaChronicle.com exposes the blatant violations and negligence of the Town.  & Country Planning (TCP) officials, Civil Engineer, Contractor and Builder in the Canacona Building disaster in which 19 people lost their lives when a building collapsed…

An under-construction five-storey building in Chaudi, Canacona crashed on Saturday, killing 19 workers, injuring 14 more while ten-odd others are still trapped inside the debris.

Local residents have alleged that the newer buildings were located in a reclaimed water body. Google images of 2005 and 2007 clearly show a depression. The residents complaints had been largely ignored by authorities.

Sources in TCP have told GoaChronicle.com that it appears to be a m20 grade of concrete appears to have been used for the columns. “It is okay for the slabs but not columns and m25 grade would have been better,” expressed a civil engineer.

Soil investigation to assess its load-bearing capacity is necessary for constructions in soft soil. “If the soil has high clay composition, then piling has to be done,” the civil engineer further elucidated.

“But even if M 25 grade of concrete is used without piling, the building cannot stand,” he added.

GEC Preliminary Confidential Report Details:

Poor workmanship, lack of soil analysis and substandard quality of construction materials appear to have been largely responsible for the tragic collapse of a building in Ruby residency in Chaudi, Canacona reveals a confidential preliminary report presented to the Goa government by the Faculty of Goa Engineering College (GEC).

The debris of the collapsed building shows some beams and slabs sitting on top of each, but not a single column. All the columns have been reduced to powder at the site. It could be a case of weak columns and strong beams.

The construction of the buildings was done in a phased manner. Two blocks of buildings had been first constructed on higher ground near the rocky hill slope. The other blocks in the cultivable land had been taken up later.

The collapsed building had drifted two to three metres from its alignment. It is difficult to make out the composition of the material used for the column though GEC appointed experts are studying the composition of material.

The collapsed building was constructed on low-lying ground by building a retaining wall and then filling mud inside the retaining wall. Cracks have also appeared on the retaining wall. “The foundation was not on stone but on the loosely-filled mud. That appears to be reason for the collapse,

It was also revealed during the course of investigation, a lot of grayish powder material was seen scattered at the scene of the offence which is suspected to be ‘Murras’ and it is a byproduct of crushed gravel and available at the crushing sites. The said material is suspected to be used as substitute for sand and the same requires to be investigated and custodial interrogation is necessary.

Vishwas Dessai’s Completion Certificate:

The structural & civil engineer registered with the TCP Department bearing No 32/2010 was Vishwas Dessai, who in the ‘Completion Certificate’ states the following;

“In survey bearing No 26/2,3 & 4 of Chaudi Village, Canacona Taluka; I certify that the erections of the building has been carried out under my supervision and I guarantee that all the material (kind, quality and grade) and workmanship is in accordance with the detail and general specifications and that work has been carried out in accordance with the sanction plan, elevation and section.”

TCP Official Gross Violation:

Deputy town planner Prakash Bandodkar, then incharge of Canacona , was arrested on Monday in connection with the collapse of the building at Canacona. Earlier in the day, the government had suspended Bandodkar.

1. Failed to forward the file of the project to the TCP office in Panaji and had dealt with the project himself even though the project was over 2000 sqmts. Instead chose to break the project development plans up into three phases of 1998 sqmts, 1998 sqmts and 1992 sqmts to avoid scrutiny at the higher levels of the TCP Department.

“The file for any project with more than 24 flats has to be sent to the TCP office in Panaji. Though the Ruby residency was more than 90 flats, he did not send it to us,” Puttaraju said, adding that he has found more lapses against Bandodkar.

The permission for the first phase was given on May 28, 2010, for the second phase on June 3, 2010, and for the third phase on June 16, 2010. For each phase, Bandodkar had “systematically” shown the area of the project as below 2,000 sq m so that he could sanction the projects at his level. If the area of the project was above 2,000 sq m, he would have to send the file to the Panaji TCP office.

2. More importantly the Deputy Town Planner undertook the gross violation and criminal negligence of allowing a passed three-building project with only one staircase thereby connecting the buildings through passage ways inter-connecting the building at floors of the building. So from Block A you could cross to Block B via a passage-way on the first-floor.

3. But most all the violation is the passing of three building project without following TCP set-back regulations of space and road-width between buildings. According the size of the project and the space allotted for set-back and road only two-building would be able have been accommodated in the land size but three were cleared.



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