After the roof of two buildings collapsed in Delhi’s Connaught Place this month, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has started a survey of buildings in the central shopping hub to identify potentially dangerous buildings and prevent any more such incidents.
According to a senior engineering department official of the NDMC, the survey, which started on Monday, will cover all 13 blocks of Connaught Place and inspect buildings, especially rooftops.
“The two-day survey by our officials has started. We will make sure that all 13 blocks are inspected to identify dangerous buildings,” the official told HT. The roof of Unplugged Courtyard, a restaurant in L-Block, caved in on February 10 — a few days after NDMC had banned dining on the terrace in Connaught Place due to safety concerns. On February 2, a part of the roof C block near the popular Jain Book Depot had collapsed.
The NDMC had shut down the rooftop sections of 21 open-air restaurants after the incident at C Block. Unplugged Courtyard was on that list too, along with 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, 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.
According to officials, the open-air restaurants have been running for years without permission. The chief architect’s office sent show cause notices to these outlets for misuse of premises under sections 250 and 252 of the NDMC Act, 1994 and their rooftop sections were sealed a day after the C Block incident, the official said.
The civic agency has also formed a six member panel, comprising structural safety experts from IIT Delhi, to find out the reason behind crumbling buildings.
“A policy is also being formulated to regulate structures like water tanks, mobile towers and generator sets, among others, installed on rooftops in this commercial centre,” the official said.
Constructed in 1933, Connaught Place was named after Duke of Connaught (Arthur, son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) to honour him on his visit to Delhi. In 2007, the CP redevelopment was kicked off as a pilot project with the facade restoration of C Block. It was scheduled for completion ahead of the Commonwealth Games in October, 2010. However, it could be finished only in 2013, after missing a series of deadlines and escalation of cost from Rs 76 crore to Rs 671 crore.