Ponda: The Ponda Municipal Council (PMC) has not yet demolished its unsafe declared 50-year-old Shashtri Hall building which is in a dilapidated condition. The building is located by the side of main road in the heart of Ponda town near Ponda Police.
PMC authorities are probably waiting for a tragedy to happen as four shop owners are carrying out business in the building, which was constructed around 50 years ago and has been without any maintenance which led to weakening the building.
The building houses four shops at the ground floor which are still operating while the Municipal Library which was located on the first floor was shifted to Upper Bazaar Market Complex last year due to the risk factor. The Shastri Hall on second floor has been closed for past many years as it was noticed that pieces of concrete were falling off the roof. The iron rods are exposed and rusted making the structure dangerous.
The shopkeepers doing business in this dilapidated building were given notice by PMC to vacate the structure to prevent any untoward incident. They were also provided alternative spaces at Upper Bazaar Market Complex but they are reluctant to vacate the building and shift to new premises on the ground that the space allotted to them by PMC is not favourable to run their businesses as it would not attract customers and they may suffer losses.
Further PMC is not ready to sign an agreement with them that after demolishing the existing old building and constructing new building on it, they would be accommodated and given shops into it.
Some couple of years ago the Municipality inspected and conducted structural audit of the building through Goa Engineering College (GEC). In its report the GEC had declared it as unsafe for humans as the structure is in a dilapidated condition and needed to be demolished.
PMC Chief Officer Navnath Naik said “PMC has long back taken a resolution to demolish this old unsafe building and even sent notices to shop owners operating at the ground floor, to vacate the building by asking them to shift temporarily at new premises offered to them by PMC. However, they are doing their business at their own risk. PMC is seeking legal advice on the matter to solve the crisis and risk factors.” [H]