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Sealed rooftops in Connaught Place to be temporarily opened for safety survey

A senior NDMC official said for the survey of the individual structures or shop spaces, access will be granted to the structural engineers and architects

cities Updated: Feb 15, 2017 23:33 IST
Ritam Halder
An empty section of a building in C Block in Connaught place .
An empty section of a building in C Block in Connaught place .(Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times)

Traders and restaurant owners in Connaught Place on Wednesday met New Delhi Municipal Council chairman, Naresh Kumar, to discuss the way forward regarding the structural safety of the 84-year-old shopping hub following two incidents of roof collapse in C and L blocks, which took place on February 2 and 11.

“It was a positive and productive meeting. We met the NDMC chairman who had called the restaurants association and asked them to conduct the structural safety assessment. After the meeting, it was also decided that the sealed sections will be temporarily de-sealed for assessment by structural engineers,” New Delhi Traders Association secretary Vikram Badhwar told HT.

Read: Is Delhi’s posh shopping hub Khan Market a disaster waiting to happen?

Earlier, on Tuesday, the NDMC asked all shop owners in Connaught Place to get safety certificates from structural engineers. This will include self declaration by the owners and attestation by the structural engineer that the particular space doesn’t deviate from the sanctioned building plan and items on the rooftops are there with necessary permission.

A senior NDMC official said for the survey of the individual structures or shop spaces, access will be granted to the structural engineers and architects. “This will be for limited use and for the purpose of survey. However, no other activity will be permitted,” he said.

The NDMC had banned dining on the terrace in Connaught Place due to safety concerns after a part of the roof in C block near the popular Jain Book Depot collapsed on February 2.

Rooftop sections of My Bar Headquarters, Warehouse Cafe in D-block, The Vault Cafe in F-block, Kinbuck-2 and Kitchen Bar in C-block, Lord of the Drinks, Open House Cafe, Unplugged Courtyard, Jungle Jamboree, Boombox Cafe, Farzi Cafe, House of Commons, Hotel Palace Heights, Office Canteen Bar, Luggage Room, Cafe OMG, Barbeque Nation, TC Bar & Restaurant, Teddy Boy Restaurant and The Niche Restaurant and Cafe Public Connection were sealed on February 3. Incidentally, the roof of one of these sealed establishments, Unplugged Courtyard, a restaurant in L-Block, caved in on February 11.

Read: Farzi Cafe, My Bar rooftops among 21 Connaught Place restaurants partly sealed after building collapse

The restaurant owners on Wednesday also demanded opening the terraces after structural safety certificate is granted.

“We have proposed that once we get a safety certificate and our structures are approved, our rooftops should be de-sealed. We also asked the council for permission to conduct necessary repairs if any building is found to have any discrepancy,” Priyank Sukhija of the Connaught Place Restaurants Association said.

The NDMC has also formed 15 teams to take stock of condition of the buildings in Connaught Place. These teams, consisting of technical officers of different departments, will work under the supervision of chief engineers, chief architect, director and medical officer of health. The teams will submit their report within two days.

Earlier on Monday, the council suspended four engineers for dereliction of duty resulting in the roof collapse. According to senior officials, they were responsible for monitoring the Connaught Place area.