Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
For whose benefit the Government was in a hurry to demolish a Government–owned apartment complex in Unit VIII, Bhubaneswar, is not yet known; but its recklessness in demolition has mortally injured two private persons as the structure abandoned half-crushed crumbled upon them on December 17.
Known as Bachelors-barrack, the apartment complex was built up by the Government for unmarried or newly wed officials and for transit stay of personnel on transfer. It was not properly maintained and hence was in need of major repair. But as land-grabbers have found Bhubaneswar a safe grazing ground with commission agents ruling the roost, it was decided to demolish this invaluable complex instead of repairing to suit the design yet unannounced and delay in this respect was intolerable to the General Administration Department that the Chief Minister directly controls.
Thus the demolition started without planning and precaution. Human life was of no relevance to persons who were eager to carry out the demolition. They half-crushed the complex and abandoned it sans any guard, as to them, the message that it would not be repaired but the land it stands upon would be available for different use was delivered aloud.
This induced the tragedy. Eager to grab abandoned scraps, many a poor person as well as scrap traders’ agents started combing the debris. They had no awareness that the half-crushed structure somewhere would crumble upon them. As it happened, routine rescue operation commenced.