Six demolition companies ready to raze Nasla Tower in Karachi

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KARACHI: Six demolition companies have submitted to the District East administration a proposal to raze the Nasla Tower in Karachi, while 97% of the tower has already been vacated.

The District East office will interview these companies before finalising a demolition plan for Nasla Tower

Earlier, the Karachi commissioner had set up an eight-member committee to evaluate and select express of interest sought from different companies to demolish the tower in a controlled implosion.

The committee met on Monday, with East Deputy Commissioner Asif Jan Siddiqui in the chair. The meeting was attended by one representative each of the Sindh police, Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), NED University Civil Engineering Department head Abdul Jabbar Sangi, non-governmental organistion Shehri’s Amber Alibhai and assistant commissioner Asma Batool.

Batool confirmed to the publication that six companies had submitted their proposals to the committee. Four companies are based in Karachi, while one each of the other two are in Lahore and Islamabad.

The Lahore company is the only one that has agreed to demolish the building in a controlled implosion. It works in collaboration with a foreign company. To use a controlled implosion method, the company will carry out pre-demolition work that will take at least 120 days, Batool shared.

After a proper survey, she said, there is also a possibility that the Lahore-based company resorts to mechanical demolition.

She explained that the SBCA had not issued a completion certificate to the Nasla Tower, which was why one could not tell how safe it would be to demolish the building through an implosion.

At Monday’s meeting, it was decided that the Karachi companies would be interviewed today (Tuesday) and the Lahore and Islamabad ones tomorrow, after which a decision will be taken.

How much will demolishing Nasla Tower cost?

When asked about the cost of the demolition, Batool 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 Nasla Tower will 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 after it.

Who occupies the Nasla Tower currently?

The Nasla Tower management committee’s Muhammad Ali told The News that 97% 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 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 a 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.

Background

The SC,  on June 16, had ordered Nasla 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 a review petition against the demolition of the 15-storey Nasla Tower, saying 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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