POKHARA: Pokhara sub-metropolitan city has started keeping records of all the multi-storey buildings that were constructed without following the building code in Kaski. 

While the city prohibits construction of a building that is more than 35 feet in height, a number of houses have been built bypassing the law in the lake city. 

Purna Gurung, an engineer at the sub-metropolis, said that teams of engineers were mobilised to take stock of the buildings in the city from yesterday. 

“Data collection will be completed within a week. An all-party meeting will decide whether to demolish such structures or keep them intact,” said Gurung. 

According to statistics, around 4,000 new houses are constructed every year in the city area to cater to the increasing population. 

Around one lakh houses have been built in the city so far, according to the data at the office. 

According to officials, majority of structures built at the main business areas, including New Road, Chipledhunga, Prithvichowk, Palikhechowk, Siddharthachowk, Lakeside, Srijanachowk and Nayabazaar, among others have violated the building code. A large number of hotel and business complexes in the Lakeside area have also breached the code. 

The persons violating the building code include chairperson and former chairpersons of City Development Committee as well as those of FNCCI Pokhara chapter. Similarly, municipality engineers, who are responsible for setting the building code, have also been found violating the code blatantly, said sources. 

According to reports revealed by experts and researchers, Pokhara has vulnerable soil. 

Krishna KC, a geographer, said Pokhara, though one of the most beautiful and adorned cities in the country, is not safe in terms of earthquake. “As a large number of people have been building structures irrespective of earthquake resistant mechanism and security, this trend may soon invite a massive calamity,” said KC. 

The sub-metropolitan city had enforced quake resistant building code on February 13, 2013. It is learnt that the office had trained above 500 construction entrepreneurs about quake resistant buildings. The lack of effective monitoring and penalty for contractors avoiding building the code has also contributed to the haphazard practice. 

Netra Bikram Chand-led Maoist party has demanded implementation of building code and conservation of open spaces in Pokhara. The party today submitted a memorandum to the Regional Administration Office, District Administration, District Development Committee and Pokhara Valley City Development Committee. The land utilisation policy, that was introduced four decades ago in the city, is yet to be implemented.