Meghalaya HC rules against high-rise buildings

Shillong: The Meghalaya high court has directed the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) to stop all ongoing construction work for high-rise buildings in the hill state which are in violation to its interim order. It also sought details of action taken by the MUDA in preventing construction of high-rise buildings within three weeks.

A division bench of the high court comprising judges TNK Singh and SR Sen, after hearing a public interest litigation filed by city-based lawyer Jonathan Thangkhiew and three others, on Wednesday observed that based on the affidavit filed by the MUDA, it appeared that there were some high-rise buildings which were highly unsafe in the Shillong agglomeration area and that these would lead to heavy casualties in the event of earthquakes and landslides.

The court also observed, "It is not clear as to what steps had been taken up by the MUDA to avoid those impending heavy casualties."

The counsel for the petitioners, KP Paul, contended that in spite of the interim order passed on April 11, the construction of high-rise buildings has not been stopped. Notably the court, in its interim order, had prohibited construction beyond G-Plus three buildings in the state capital following violation of the building rules by MUDA.

The next hearing on the PIL is scheduled on September 1. In the absence of enforcement of the Meghalaya Building Bye-Laws, 2011, the construction work for several high-rise buildings were on around the hill city where the 'adverse terrain' makes these buildings 'highly unsafe', said an observer.