The building collapse at Kumarhatti in Solan district which claimed lives of 14 persons including 13 Army jawans, proved to be a wakeup call as the Himachal Pradesh government on Saturday decided to adopt Model Building Byelaws.

After a meeting on techno-legal regime for construction activities, Principal Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management Onkar Chand Sharma said Urban Development Department will share the compliance report on adoption of Model Building Byelaws.

“Every Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) would adopt these norms as per directions of State Executive Committee constituted under Disaster Management Act 2005. The District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) will also follow with the ULBs of their district to adopt the rules.

Urban Development Department along with DDMAs would ensure that constructions will be regulated as per the adopted Model Building Byelaws by the ULBs,” he added.

Sharma said that Rural Development and Panchayati Raj department will ensure safe construction practices in the rural areas for which adequate Information Education and Communication (IECs) activities will be carried out.

All construction activities involving buildings such as educational institutes, housing colonies, hotels and resorts or any other commercial structure such as dhabas, tea stalls, homestay etc will be got screened for structural and fire safety by the DDMAs.

In future PRIs will ensure that such structures are constructed as per safety standards, he said. He said Rural Development and  Panchayati Raj (RD&PR) department will spread the knowledge about safe construction practices and traditional building practices in villages and Gram Panchayats with the help of IEC material and activities in association with SDMA and DDMAs.

It was decided also in the meeting that DDMAs headed by the Deputy Commissioner of each district will check that the vulnerable building or commercial structure developed in hazards prone zone may be surveyed.

Further, proper action to ensure safety will be taken with the help of tourism department and other line departments to avoid repeat of Kumarhatti like incident in future.

He said that RD&PR department will support the SDMA and DDMAs for implementation of the scheme on training of masons, carpenters, bar binders and other artisans in hazard resistant construction by training 5-10 masons from each panchayats in order to institutionalize and promote the safe construction practices in the state.

SDMA will also develop a data base of retired engineers, architects and technocrats in the state from various departments so that general public can use their service for safe construction in urban and rural areas.

Director RD&PR Rakesh Kanwar, Director Town and Country Planning C Paulrasu, Architect-in-Chief NK Negi, Additional Director Rural Development Sachin Kanwal, Joint Director Urban Development KC Gaur, Deputy Secretary PWD Ritu Raj Verma, and other officers attended the meeting.