While 97 per cent of the Nasla Tower has been vacated, the District East administration is reviewing applications it received from different demolition companies for razing the building.
The District East office will hold interviews of the companies that have shown interest in the job before finalising the demolition plan.
The Karachi commissioner had earlier constituted an eight-member committee for the evaluation and selection of express of interest sought from different companies regarding the demolition of the Nasla Tower through a controlled blast.
On Monday, a meeting of the committee was held with East Deputy Commissioner Asif Jan Siddiqui in chair. The meeting was attended by one representative of the Sindh police, Sindhi Building Control Authority (SBCA), Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) each, NED University Head of Civil Engineering Department Abdul Jabbar Sangi, NGO Shehri’s Amber Alibhai and assistant commissioner Asma Batool.
Speaking to The News, Asma said that as many as six companies had submitted their proposals to the committee. One each of them was from Lahore and Islamabad, and the other four were Karachi-based firms.
The company from Lahore, which works in collaboration with a foreign company, is the only company which has agreed to demolish the building through a controlled blast. But for that, Batool said, the company would carry out a lot of pre-demolition work that would take at least 120 days.
After a proper survey, she said, there was also a possibility that the Lahore-based company would resort to mechanical demolition.
Asma explained that the SBCA had not issued the completion certificate to the Nasla Tower, which was why one could not tell how much safe it would be to demolish the building through implosion.
At Monday’s meeting, it was decided that the local companies would be interviewed today (Tuesday) and the companies from Lahore and Islamabad would be interviewed on Wednesday, after which a decision would be taken.
When asked about the cost of the demolition, Asma explained that as per the Supreme Court’s (SC) order, the builder would have to bear the cost, and if the builder refused, the land of the Nasla Tower would have to be sold by the commissioner, which could also be a time-consuming task. There are also a few companies that have agreed to demolish the Nasla Tower free of charge, only if they get their hands on the rubble.
The Nasla Tower management committee’s Muhammad Ali told The News that 97 per cent of the building had been vacated and whatever was left was being emptied. “There were 39 families, of which 34 to 35 have left the building,” he explained, adding that a few of those families had rented another place and others had shifted to their relatives’ homes as it was not possible to get a decent house or apartment on rent on such a short notice.
He said four to five flats in the Tower were owned by families living abroad and their belongings in the flats were being relocated by their relatives in Karachi.
As per their settlement with the builder regarding repayment, he said the Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) chairman had assured them of refund within one year, but nothing had been agreed on paper as yet.
“If there is no written agreement, there will be a legal battle, which means our hard-earned money has gone down the drain,” he said, adding that once the matter of repayment went to court, no one would know how much time it would take.
In June 16, the SC had ordered the tower’s demolition over its illegal construction on a service road, telling the builders to refund the registered buyers of the residential and commercial units within three months.
On September 22, a three-judge SC bench dismissed the review petition against the demolition of the 15-storey Nasla Tower. The apex court said the petitioner’s counsel had failed to show any title or registered lease deed about the allotment of area in excess of 780 square yards.
The top court also directed the Karachi commissioner to implement the June 16 demolition order, following which the assistant commissioner of Ferozabad served the Nasla Tower residents with an eviction notice on October 16 that was also published in newspapers.
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