AWHO reassures Chander Kunj residents restoration of crumbling flats

The B and C blocks of Chander Kunj Army Towers where serious lapses in construction have put the safety of residents. Photo: Onmanorama

Kochi: The Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO), which manages Chander Kunj Army Towers (CKAT) at the Silver Sand Island at Vyttila in Kerala’s Kochi, on Tuesday reasserted its commitment to restore two blocks of the residential complex which are in severe distress.

AWHO’s managing director Maj Gen (retd) Vikal Sahni on Tuesday visited the residents of the B and C blocks in a bid to address their growing concerns over their safety in the buildings. The welfare association presented a detailed plan for the restoration of the buildings, according to Major General (retd) Rajagopal, president of the Residents Welfare Association. There was no official communication from the AWHO about the decisions taken at the discussion.

It was the second visit by the AWHO MD to Chander Kunj in 15 days. The Tuesday meeting took place in the wake of two government agencies recommending immediate evacuation from the two towers which are facing severe structural issues. Two engineers from Tripunithura municipality and the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) submitted their reports to the district collector following a joint inspection ordered by the collector.

An independent study by an IIT-Madras professor also recommended immediate evacuation of the residents from the two towers. Signs of poor construction started appearing in the 29-storey residential buildings soon after they were handed over to the owners – serving and retired military personnel – in 2018.

Major General (retd) Rajagopal said the latest meeting was very satisfactory and there was a healthy discussion. Flat owners who were out of station attended the meet online too. Rajagopal said AWHO has informed that the full cost for the restoration will be borne by the association.

Colonel (retd) Ciby George, a resident of ‘C’ block who has the police and the high court against the alleged irregularities that led to the poor-quality construction, did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

AWHO has pinned its hopes on a report by Bureau Veritas India Ltd (BVIL), a private firm which has reportedly made a plan to restore the building and extend its life by 30 years.

“BVIL was hired by AWHO to undertake a detailed Non-Destructive Test (NDT) using specialist equipment. AWHO is committed to executing the restoration work as recommended by BVIL in a very exhaustive report of more than 13,000 pages. The work shall be executed by a specialist firm, the tender for which has already been issued,” the association said in a press statement on Monday.

It also said a few flat owners were spreading misinformation about the proposed repairs, citing the report prepared by one of the professors of IIT-Madras. “AWHO also intends to take legal and criminal actions against individuals and agencies responsible for the lapses,” it said. 

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