Why is structural safety only our concern, ask Connaught Place traders | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Why is structural safety only our concern, ask Connaught Place traders

The traders feel that the NDMC was completely shifting the onus of ensuring structural safety of their establishments on them.

delhi Updated: Apr 16, 2017 23:24 IST
Ritam Halder
CP
The NDMC stepped in after the roof of Unplugged Courtyard, a restaurant in L-Block, caved in on February 11 — a few days after the council had banned dining on the terrace areas of a number of restaurants in Connaught Place due to safety concerns. Earlier, on February 2, a portion of roof in C block near Jain Book Depot had also collapsed, raising concerns about the safety of this 84-year-old shopping hub.(Ravi Choudhary/HT PHOTO)

Traders of Connaught Place are unhappy at the process the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) have asked them to follow to submit structural safety certificates of their establishments.

The traders feel that the NDMC was completely shifting the onus of ensuring structural safety of their establishments on them.

“We were served notices under Section 258 (1) of the NDMC Act 1994, which doesn’t apply to Connaught Place. This is basically for buildings in ruined, dilapidated condition. Connaught Place, on the other hand, is a living heritage. The undertaking is basically putting the blame on the occupants,” New Delhi Traders Association president Atul Bhargava told HT.

The NDMC stepped in after the roof of Unplugged Courtyard, a restaurant in L-Block, caved in on February 11 — a few days after the council had banned dining on the terrace areas of a number of restaurants in Connaught Place due to safety concerns. Earlier, on February 2, a portion of roof in C block near Jain Book Depot had also collapsed, raising concerns about the safety of this 84-year-old shopping hub.

The Connaught Place traders were then served notices and all shop owners were asked to provide structural safety certificates by March 6. It was a self declaration by the owners, attested by a structural engineer that a particular shop or flat space doesn’t deviate from the sanctioned building plan and items on rooftop had necessary permission. The deadline was later extended to April 15.

“These structural certificates are not at all relevant to shops in CP. When it was constructed in 1930, there was no BIS standard. I have a ground floor shop. How can I list rooftop structures and submit an undertaking accordingly then? The certificates should be issued either for every block or jointly for a ground floor and its first floor unit together,” Bhargava said, adding that most traders had either submitted the undertaking or will do so by Monday.

A senior council official, however, said structural safety of any building is the responsibility of the owner or occupant and blaming the NDMC is wrong.

“If you are living in a house, its stability is your responsibility. In the same way, responsibility of the structural safety of the CP shops rests with the traders,” he said.