KOLHAPUR: The dilapidated buildings along the Ganesh idol immersion routes are turning out to be the biggest concern for the civic authorities.
On the one hand, the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) has issued notices to the tenants of 45 such buildings to vacate the structures fearing high-decibel sound can damage those and lead to accidents. On the other hand, it wants the mandals to keep the sound level low along the stretches dotted with the dilapidated buildings to avert any accident because of the high-decibel beats.
The KMC had identified these dilapidated buildings during a survey held a couple of years ago. The civic authorities have now now written to the police administration to ensure that the tenants in the buildings are not present inside at the procession time. If possible, the KMC wants these people to be relocated somewhere else till the procession ends.
The KMC has termed these building dangerous to live in after a structural audit and even disconnected water and electricity supply to ensure the tenants leave. But over the last one month, the KMC has stopped the drive to remove residents of the dangerous buildings.
The civic authorities claimed that most tenants in these buildings were in legal disputes with the respective owner. “The KMC cannot demolish these buildings in the absence of any legal provisions in such a situation,” a KMC official said. Records available with the divisional ward offices reveal that over 40 such buildings should be demolished at the earliest. There are over 90 dilapidated buildings in the city.
KMC divisional engineer S K Mane said, “Through the notice, we have asked the tenants not to stay in the buildings until the processions end. No one should stand on the balconies as they may collapse due to the high-decibel sound. We had asked the tenants and owners to remove the buildings on their own last year. The KMC will not be responsible for any casualty if such a building collapses. Police have been asked to vacate these buildings during the immersion procession.”
Sources said the civic authorities have sought permission from the district administration to demolish the buildings. But the district authorities require more time to study the legal disputes before ordering demolition. Most Ganesh mandal processions pass through Deval Club, Mirajkar Tickti, Mahadwar Road, Papachi Tickti and Gangavesh.
Almost all the dangerous buildings are located along the immersion routes of the major mandals, that use high-decibel sound system to attract revellers, particularly the youth. The immersion procession lasts for more than 24 hours. Pandals of many political parties are also set up along the immersion routes and such sound systems are used for announcements.
“We have installed CCTV cameras along the immersion routes to keep a watch and avert any untoward incident. In case of the dilapidated buildings, we have asked police to ensure that enough space is left between the procession and the building so that rescue operations can be carried out effectively if there’s an emergency. The list of the dangerous buildings along the immersion route will be circulated to the mandals, so that they can reduce the sound volume. Police are entitled to frame charges against mandals if any such building collapses because of the high-decibel sound,” Mane said.
The noise levels should not exceed 50 decibels (dB) in the hospital areas, while the cap is 55db in the residential areas (see graphics). Last year, police had booked 62 mandals for flouting the noise norms. The civic authorities said the dilapidated buildings may not sustain any sound above 80 dB.
Mahendra Shelke, a resident of Malkar Tickti, said, “This year, police have categorically asked the mandals not to use Dolby system during the immersion processions. Even if any accident occurs, the mandals are not held responsible because of their influence. The procession routes should be changed as most of those pass through the congested and old city areas dotted with old buildings.”