“Build not to demolish”

Nebu Abraham, Editor-Construction Philosophy "As professionals, we have the duty to ensure that we do not become parties to breach of law. If we stand firm, such illegal structures will not rise, undermining people’s trust in rule of law"

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We don’t build structures, putting in a lot of energy and resources, to pull them down in double quick. However, unfortunately, in many parts of India, this is increasingly becoming the norm. There are the building rules to be followed but, sadly, they are observed more in breach. The going need not, however, be good all the time as became evident with the Supreme Court order for demolition of four apartments bordering the Kochi backwaters in Kerala for violation of the  Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. The order of apex court was carried out on January 11-12.

The demolitions, it must be said, were carried out with textbook precision by a team of experts and an efficient district administration. However, the question remains how things reached such a pass. Who gave permission for construction of the apartments in blatant violation of the CRZ norms? Why blame those who had purchased the apartments with (mostly) their hard-earned money, only to be told soon that they have bought into a huge hoax? Are these the only structures fronting the Kochi backwaters that have been constructed in violation of the CRZ norms? What about the structures listed in the periodic reports of the KSCZMA as having been built in violation of the CRZ norms? We may not get answers to these questions but, as professionals, we have the duty to ensure that we do not become parties to breach of law. If we stand firm, such illegal structures will not rise, undermining people’s trust in rule of law.

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