CUTTACK: Almost a year after the district and civic authorities identified nearly 500 unsafe government and private buildings here, the administration has done precious little to demolish them in the thousand-year-old city - and is thereby waiting for a disaster to happen.
Following an earthquake that had shaken Cuttack on May 21 last year, the administration ordered identification of unsafe buildings in the city.
Accordingly, the state road and building department detected 196 dilapidated government structures in July. Of them, 129 were police quarters, 22 belonged to the health and family welfare department and 11 to the school and mass education department. But the administration is yet to take any action on their demolition.
In case of private buildings, a joint survey was conducted by the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and the Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) to identify the age-old and unsafe private buildings last year. But the administration is yet to review the report and take any action on it.
"The survey report was submitted to the collector's office last year," said CDA vice-chairman Pratap Das. He said over 300 unsafe private buildings had been identified in the city.
The administration has turned a blind eye to these unsafe structures, which pose serious threat during natural calamities like earthquake and cyclones. The residents are worried over the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities.
"In my locality there are over 10 such dilapidated structures which have developed deep cracks and with each jolt the cracks turn deeper. But the administration is yet to declare these houses unsafe or issue notices to the residents to vacate these houses," said Shankar Agarwal, a resident of Jaunliapatty.
Experts apprehend that a mishap is waiting to happen in Cuttack, which lies in seismic zone III that means the city runs the risk of suffering moderate damage in the event of an earthquake.
"The city is very congested with narrow lanes. If any house collapses, it will be very difficult to carry out rescue operations," said retired engineer B K Mishra.
District collector Nirmal Mishra pleaded his helplessness has claimed that they cannot take any stringent action against the unsafe private buildings.
"I will look into the report and would declare the identified buildings as unsafe by pasting poster on it. But we cannot demolish the private structures as we have no power to do so," Mishra said.