Summit Apartments land subsidence issue enters ParliamentLalitpur Metropolitan City said Wednesday it moved two affected households. A team of engineers to assess damage caused by the illegal construction.
Rastriya Swatantra Party’s lawmaker from Lalitpur-3, Toshima Karki, drew the attention of Parliament to the growing trend of constructing high rises, hotels and apartments without even getting their designs approved and in violation of building codes.
Speaking during Zero Hour in the lower house on Wednesday, Karki asked the parliament to investigate the land subsidence caused by the apparently illegal ongoing construction of Summit Apartments in Bakhundole, Lalitpur that has caused damage to several surrounding houses. Two houses subsided and some others developed cracks in the wee hours Saturday. While some of the affected families have been moved to safety, other residents are living in fear since the incident.
Officials of the Lalitpur Metropolitan City said they have found that Summit Apartments had neither obtained approval for the building design, nor conducted the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before starting construction.
“The apartments, which will have up to 16 storeys, are being constructed on 18 ropani (98,568 sq feet) of land, but without getting the building design approved and without conducting an environmental impact assessment,” lawmaker Karki told Parliament. “But the builders haven’t even obtained design approval from the local authorities or conducted an EIA, and this has caused damage in the neighbourhood.”
The apartments are being constructed by Chaudhary Group President Binod Chaudhary, FNCCI former president Rabi Bhakta Shrestha, and the Summit Group with an investment of Rs 6 billion. The plan is to operate a five-star hotel with 130 rooms, and there will be seven other buildings of seven to 16 storeys that will house 160 luxury apartments.
Karki asked the Speaker of the lower House to form a committee to investigate the matter, punish the culprits and compensate the victims.
A day after the incident, an all-party meeting held at Lalitpur Metropolitan City had decided to take action against project developers in accordance with the law.
Manjali Shakya, deputy mayor at Lalitpur Metropolitan City said the Summit Apartments had violated the law.
“We wrote to them after the incident, but they initially ignored our letter. But at present the metropolitan city is more concerned about the safety and well-being of the victims. We have received Rs10 million from the developers to pay compensation to the victims, and we immediately set up a Rapid Relief Fund with the money,” said Shakya.
She said the metropolitan city is working with a technical team to assess the damage caused in the neighbourhood by land subsidence. “For that we have requested the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to provide a team of engineers,” said Shakya.
Nirmal Tandukar, chairperson of the city’s ward-1, where the incident took place, said on Wednesday that families of two houses that are at risk were shifted to safety.
“Two families who lived near the construction site had already been shifted from the area. And on Wednesday we shifted people from two more houses that are at risk. All the costs will be borne by the developers of the Summit Apartments,” said Tandukar.