Portion of Assembly complex collapses; probe ordered

Entire Building Declared Unsafe

Greater Kashmir / AKSHAY AZAD
Publish Date: Dec 12 2012 12:00PM

Jammu, Dec 11: The building of Legislative Assembly in Jammu suffered extensive damage after a wall of it collapsed and cracks developed in entire structure.
 Officials said that at around 2 AM, one of the walls on the backside of the Legislative Assembly collapsed, due to which the media gallery of LA, chamber of Deputy Chief Minister and chamber of Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister caved in.
 The night watchman immediately informed the authorities about the wall collapse, who rushed to the spot early Tuesday morning.
 Speaker Legislative Assembly Muhammad Akbar Lone also immediately convened a high level meeting to access the situation. The meeting was attended by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, Law Secretary GH Tantray, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister BB Vyas, Chief Engineer of Road and Building department, Managing Director of Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation and several other officers.
 Experts believe that the damage to the complex was the result of the ongoing work on new Assembly Secretariat being constructed on the backside of the existing structure. Panicked employees of LA secretariat opined that some days back JKPCC had erected iron supports to the roof of the chamber of deputy CM, Law and Parliamentary affairs minister, Chief Minister’s chamber and on the stairs to media gallery.
 Government, meanwhile, constituted a high level committee, under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary to Chief Minister B B Vyas and comprising Chief Engineer of Roads and Building department, Managing Director of JKPCC, Chief Engineer Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Jojna and some consultants from Delhi as their members, to prove the matter.
 “The committee will ascertain the reasons of wall collapse and will suggest steps required to safeguard the remaining structure of Legislative Assembly complex” Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone told media persons.
 He assured the responsibility will be fixed and matter will be dealt with strictly. “There will also be a probe to determine as whose negligence was responsible for the incident”, Speaker said.
 “Yesterday Managing Director of JKPCC had assured Chief Minister that there was no threat of digging behind the Legislative Assembly complex. He was of the opinion that the Corporation would erect a protection wall within three days”, the Speaker said, adding that opportunity would be given to MD of JKPCC to explain the position but assured that guilty would be punished.
 The debris produced by wall collapse was found spilled all over on the backside of LA complex, with windows, ventilators, curtains, furniture of offices and press gallery spread all over.
 Employees further said that a tragedy has been averted. “The wall had collapsed during night hours when no employee was present. The situation would have been worst if the incident would have occurred during day time”.
 Keeping in view of the damage to the structure has been declared unsafe for the employees. The entire record and other fixtures of the offices, which suffered the loss have been shifted and employees have been asked to avoid strolling around the damaged portion.
 Pertinently Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC) has already started construction work on a new Legislative Complex to be established near the Civil Secretariat Jammu.
 The project would be completed at a cost of Rs 104.44 crores.  “The new complex will be six-storeyed wherein first the two floors would be for parking for 265 vehicles and the other two floors would be for the legislative assembly business and the last two floors for legislative council business,” sources said.