Trembling effect

Since experts have predicted a massive earthquake in Kathmandu Valley in the foreseeable future, the perspective of damage gets enlarged by the fact that many buildings have been erected illegally, without regard to the building code, and without getting the approval of the authorities concerned. But in a number of cases, even officials have given the nod contrary to the regulations for extraneous reasons, such as financial. These structures have not only made the city look ugly, and the inhabitants unsafe but they have also endangered the neighbourhood, besides interfering with traffic by encroaching on the roads.

Hazardous structures have been put up for years and the practice continues unhindered. While the owners are downright responsible, greater culprits are the officials whose job is to disallow all this in the first place. The government has failed to bring down illegally erected structures but if they are pulled down now, a sizable part of the cityscape will get levelled up with the ground. Mere dismantling of unsafe buildings without curbing the malpractices of the officials who issue building permissions, the problem will never be solved. Both greedy landowners and corrupt officials need to be severely punished. The lack of open spaces in the concrete jungle constitutes serious risks to lives. But wholesale dismantling of hazardous infrastructures will have other implications, including the waste of huge resources already expended. There has to be a better way of dealing with the problem which unfortunately has gone too far.