Two years ago, at 5.30 pm on Saturday, June 28, 2014, one of the twin eleven storied apartment blocks under construction situated on Kundrathur road near Porur junction, Moulivakkam in the suburb of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, collapsed due to heavy monsoon rains, killing 61 people including children. The rescuers saved 27 people trapped under the wrecked building. The hospitals admitted more than 50 injured people.
Most victims were construction workers, who were reportedly in the building to collect their wages.
This incident exemplifies the dark side of the real estate and construction business wherein ambitious entrepreneurs consider amassing money the prime function of their operations and do not care for the safety of the lives of their customers.
Three years before this disaster, M. Manoharan (60), a native of Madurai, worked as a clerk with the Indian Bank in Madurai. He opted for voluntary retirement in 2011 and became a and graduated to a full-time ‘well-known’ real estate dealer within a short time with the support of a DMK panjandrum he launched Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd.
The website of Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd., blatantly states:
Head quartered in Madurai Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd’s promoters have nearly two decades of extensive Real Estate Development experience. We at Prime Sristi believe our buildings should stand apart and should reflect engineering marvel . It is our intention that the quality of our products and services should result in complete Customer Trust.
In 2014, the Prime Sristi Housing Ltd., promoted the ‘Trust Heights’, a residential project. It had two 11-storey buildings under construction named ‘The Faith’ and ‘The Belief’ on the Kundrathur Main Road at Moulivakkam, the catchment area for the nearby Porur lake and Adyar river,
According to the initial assessment made by the Public Works Department, the soil does not support heavy construction and permission is not easily granted for the the construction of high-rise buildings in the area. But none of the authorities raised any objection when construction started.
‘The Faith‘ had four apartments of two BHK on each floor, and ‘The Belief‘ has four apartments of three BHK on each floor, priced at ₹5250 per square foot.
Due to the heavy rains, ‘The Faith’ collapsed on an adjoining building. Though deemed the most serious construction-disaster Chennai has ever witnessed, the builder and the authorities blamed “natural causes”.
On Sunday, June 29, 2014, the city police arrested Manoharan, Managing Director of the Sirsti Housing Private Ltd., his son Muthu Kamatchi, M. Balagurusamy, S. Venkatasubramaniam, structural engineer, R. Duraisingam, K. Karthik, S. Sankar Ramakrishnan, and Vijay Bargotra, consultant architect.
A release signed by the registrar of the Council of Architecture, New Delhi, stated that Vijay Bargotra, the prime architect of the 11-storey buildings, cannot function as an architect in India since he had not registered with them.
- Multi-storey Chennai building collapses; several feared trapped (thehindu.com)
- 2014 Chennai building collapse (en.wikipedia.org)
- Jaya Forms Panel to Probe Collapse (newindianexpress.com)
- From clerk to ‘high-profile’ builder, in 3 years (thehindu.com)
- ‘Moulivakkam tragedy exposed dark side of construction business’ (thehindu.com)
- Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd Profile (commonfloor.com)