Residents Live In Fear As Ceilings Fall, Cracks Appear In Chennai Apartments

Residents Live In Fear As Ceilings Fall, Cracks Appear In Chennai Apartments

Portions of the concrete ceilings have fallen due to corroded steel beams, residents said.


Over 300 families in a posh 17-storey apartment complex in Chennai are living in constant fear as parts of the buildings’ roof have collapsed due to poor construction work.

Residents of Jains Westminster in west Chennai say cracks began to develop in the pillars and beams a year after they moved into the complex in 2016. Soon after, portions of the concrete ceilings started falling down revealing corroded steel beams, they said.

The residents, some of whom invested their lives’ savings into the apartments, continue to worry about their safety.

Kumar, a retired insurance agent, told NDTV he paid over Rs 1 crore for his apartment and now the roof in his kitchen and dining room are slowly giving away. “I am extremely worried. Everyday some portion of the ceiling falls down. We now sleep in fear,” he said.

The residents say they are stuck in a legal battle for seven years with the builders, Jain Housing and Construction, who they blame for shoddy construction work that led to water damage and corrosion of the steel bars running through the buildings. 

The builders, however, blame the high chloride content in water in the area and that they are close to finalising an agreement with residents by today.

Residents allege that after their constant complaints the owners hired workers to fix the damage but they only patched up some portions of the buildings forcing the flat-owners to shell out their own money to carry out repairs. 

Chennai Corporation authorities who inspected the buildings have called for a structural stability report to make sure the buildings is safe to inhabit. “An extensive survey of the buildings by experts is needed to identify structural issues and decide if they can be fixed,” Shahul Hameed, regional deputy commissioner, Greater Chennai told NDTV.

While the builders claim they are close to reaching an agreement with residents on renovation work, the flat-owners say are waiting for the Corporation’s report. “We need full renovation to be carried out and that is only possible if the authorities say the buildings will be safe enough to live in after it’s repaired,” said Sreenivas Murthy, member of the homeowners’ association.

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