Khan Market traders approached the New Delhi Municipal Council on Friday and said that individual structural safety certificate, as directed by the civic agency after the two roof collapses in Connaught Place on February 2 and 11, will not be possible.
“In 1950, when the shop spaces were constructed, each individual space was 998 sq. ft, both upstairs and downstairs. When people came from Pakistan, the Land and Development Office (L&DO) divided these shop units. With a pardi (temporary) wall, smaller units were formed. So there is a lone load bearing wall in every shop. When it was constructed there were two walls. After allotment, every shop has a single wall,” Sanjeev Mehra, president of the Khan Market Traders Association, told HT.
According to him, the traders consulted a structural engineer, who said that for a structure like Khan Market, individual safety certificates were not possible.
“We met the NDMC chairman and submitted a representation telling him that individual safety certificates won’t be possible. He said we will get it reassessed on how to get it done in a consolidated manner,” Mehra said.
There are 156 shops and 74 residential spaces in Khan Market, which was set up as a neighbourhood market in 1950 and is now one of the most expensive commercial spaces in the world. Of the 74 residential spaces on the first and second floors, 44 are engaged in commercial activities housing 30 restaurants, while another 10 eateries are located on the ground floor.
On February 14, NDMC had also asked Connaught Place traders to submit similar documents. The CP traders, however, have submitted a memorandum asking for more time.
The notices to the shops of these iconic Central Delhi markets have been issued under Section 258 (1) of the NDMC Act 1994. All the shopowners and residents were to provide these 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 are there with necessary permission.