For the last one week, no new purchase of properties has been registered in the city.
Reason: Delhi government has issued directions to the civic agencies that sale and purchase of a building cannot be carried out if the building does not have a structural safety certificate from a competent authority.
While the government was quick to issue this tall order, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which is suppose to issue such certificates, does not have a single structural engineer. Structural engineers are trained to conduct tests to determine a building's strength.
On an average, close to 400 properties are registered in the city every day.
"We don't have any structural engineers as we never needed them in the past. But we have empanelled private agencies and individuals working as structural engineers who can help us in inspecting buildings," said Deep Mathur, director, press and information, MCD.
After the Lalita Park building collapse that killed 71 people last year, the civic agency has been under fire from the government to ensure buildings being constructed are safe.
"We have requested Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to send two structural engineers on deputation to serve within MCD. But it is practically impossible to issue such certificates and even the empanelled structural engineers will not be sufficient to cater to the entire city," said a senior MCD official.
The Delhi government, on the other hand, has asked the civic agency to increase the capacity of issuing certificates for structural safety to applicants by appointing structural engineers.
"People may face inconvenience for a few weeks or a couple of months. But it is in the larger interest. If a person is investing so much money in a house, he should get a property which is safe to live in," said a senior official from the revenue department of Delhi government.
The official added that the MCD Commissioner was sent a letter asking him to ensure that there are enough qualified engineers to issue certificates to applicants who want to sell their properties. The certificate, said the official, will reassure the buyer that the property is guarded against natural disasters.
"We have also asked DJB and power discoms to deny water and power connections to properties that do not have safety certificates," the official added.