Walled City: A disaster waiting to happen | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Walled City: A disaster waiting to happen

There might be more buildings in Chandni Mahal waiting to collapse. The walled city and its surrounding areas are crammed with 'dangerous' buildings, which are more than a hundred year old. The building that collapsed is known as Katra Data Ram Ki Haveli.

delhi Updated: Sep 28, 2011 00:54 IST
HT Correspondent

There might be more buildings in Chandni Mahal waiting to collapse. The walled city and its surrounding areas are crammed with 'dangerous' buildings, which are more than a hundred year old. The building that collapsed is known as Katra Data Ram Ki Haveli.

Five people have been killed, while 20 are reported injured. About 30 people are still trapped under the debris.

Officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) said the building collapsed as the owners were trying to fix a new gate inside the house.

However, area councillors alleged that illegal construction being carried out in the neighbouring building had led to the collapse. Houses in the Chandni Mahal area are stacked together. Not only this, the walls of houses are only 18 inches thick, which is not structurally safe.

"It's a 1,000 square yard plot, which had been divided into smaller parts over a period of time. It was an old building and its occupants were not carrying out any illegal construction. However, in the neighbouring building, work was being carried out in the basement to strengthen the pillars, which eventually led to weakening of the foundations of the building that collapsed," said Ubaid Iqbal, councillor of Turkman Gate, where the incident took place.

"It was an old building and its foundation was weak. The owners were trying to fix a gate and it led to the collapse," said Krishna Kumar, DC of city zone.

Every year, a survey is undertaken in city zone, which houses a majority of old buildings, to ensure that repair work can be carried out. However, the survey to identify dangerous buildings was not undertaken by the MCD from the past three years due to staff crunch.

"The commissioner has directed the DC to conduct an inquiry. He will submit a report in three days," said Deep Mathur, director press and information, MCD.

In city zone, there are 200-odd buildings, while another 70 such buildings are in Sadar Paharganj zone. "We need structural engineers. Though we have empanelled 53, a survey is yet to start in Chandni Chowk," said a senior MCD official.