Buildings fall like dominoes in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

August 26, 2023

<p>File Photo</p>
File Photo

KULLU: Eight rain-weakened, multi-storey concrete buildings on a hillside pancaked into a jumble and crumbled like dominoes, leaving behind a cloud of thick dust and echoing sounds of collapsing debris around 9.30am Thursday in Anni of Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district.

There were no casualties as the local authorities had evacuated the structures, mostly less than a decade old, situated in Kiran Bazaar near Anni bus stand on August 15. These buildings, including four multi-storey commercial complexes with shops and two banks, along with four residential houses, had developed cracks following heavy rains.

The disaster triggered panic among residents who hurriedly fled the area. “The collapsed buildings were relatively new. Their owners kept adding more floors each year, gradually increasing the weight of the structures,” said Manish Thakur, a local resident.

Amidst the destruction, a two-storey old wooden house in the vicinity survived with minor damages, raising questions about the use of suitable construction materials for the terrain.

Kullu DC Ashutosh Garg assessed the situation and noted that additional buildings in the vicinity were being evacuated, and two structures had been declared unsafe. “We might have to bring down two precario us buildings through controlled demolition to prevent damage to nearby structures. Precautionary measures involve evacuating over two dozen more buildings in the area,” he said.

CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu shared a video of the devastation on his social media platforms and urged people to vacate such unsafe structures. Locals indicated that the land beneath Anni market had started to sink under the weight of the buildings. “Most of the buildings are multi-storeyed and constructed on a slope of over 60 degrees. The land, as well as houses and other structures, developed cracks during heavy rains starting from August 12. The buil dings then collapsed in a domino effect on Thursday,” said Venus Shard, an Anni resident.

The cause is not known, but an obvious potential suspect is the exceptionally heavy rain that fell this monsoon. Water percolating down through soil is known to be able to activate a slide, or a cave-in. Hundreds of mountainside and waterfront homes had slid down into canyons and raging rivers in the Himalayan state this wet season.

Others attributed the collapse to the absence of a proper drainage system in Anni. “The lack of drains allowed rainwater to saturate the land around the market. When coupled with the steep slopes the buildings were constructed on, disaster became inevitable,” said Rakesh Kumar, another local resident.

  • Published On Aug 26, 2023 at 04:00 PM IST

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