Friday October 26, 2012
Batu Caves at risk of caving in
By LOSHANA K SHAGAR
PETALING JAYA: Batu Caves could cave in if a 29-storey condominium project near the area is given the green light, said Selangor Malaysian Nature Society committee member Lim Teck Wyn.
He said the project would expedite the limestone massif's natural erosion process, causing it to possibly cave in sooner.
“Every year there is a small amount of limestone falling away from the structure, causing skylights.
“The piling and construction work for the building will increase this amount, causing the structure to collapse sooner rather than later,” he said yesterday.
On Monday, it was reported that the Batu Caves temple committee had given a notice of demand to the project's developer, Dolomite Industries.
The state government had ordered the developer to stop all construction-related works, and said it would conduct soil testing in the area.
The property was advertised as a serviced residence located “a stone's throw away” from Batu Caves and with a “panoramic view” of the site.
Lim said the project was not in compliance with the guidelines by the Minerals and Geoscience Department, which stated that high-rise construction should not be done within a radius of 500m from the foothills.
MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said the state government should identify land in a different locality for the condominium project, or compensate Dolomite Industries.
“Conducting soil tests and coming out with a test result that the ground and caves are safe is not going to prove anything over the long term.
“The building and the caves may not collapse immediately after construction, but it may happen later,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He said limestone hills were not like the ones in Damansara area, which were of granite in nature.
Dark Caves conservation site management director Don Haider said the two proposed high-rise blocks would endanger some species of fauna within the caves.
“As the construction progresses, it will cause cracks and fissures in the cave structure. This will impact the limestone walls and a cave in can possibly happen,” he said.
The highest building near Batu Caves area is nine floors, and the rest at five floors as the surrounding area is a water catchment area.