Delhi's buildings might have escaped the effects of Wednesday morning's Tremors, but the lucky spell might not last for long. Most buildings in the city are structurally unsafe, making them vulnerable to natural disasters, like the one on Wednesday.
According to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), only 5% of property owners in the city apply for a completion certificate, under which structural safety of a building is checked by the MCD.
Hence, whether the city's buildings are safe or not is anyone's guess.
Also, MCD officials say that under the new simplified procedure of sanctioning building plan, it had issued 8,000 building plans but none of them have applied for a completion certificate so far. According to MCD officials, most property owners do not get this certificate issued as they do not engage a structural safety engineer while getting their building constructed.
"Property owners in unauthorised regularised colonies, or resettlement colonies usually avoid engaging a structural safety engineer as they charge a lot of money. So, they get the house constructed by taking the help of local masons, which is quite dangerous. Not getting a completion certificate doesn't affect them in anyway as there is no penalty. So, they simply don't bother applying for it," said a senior MCD official.
MCD officials explain that it is the structural safety engineer who comes up with the proportion of cement concrete, iron rods that needs to be used to ensure the building is safe. "There are various kinds of loads that have to be examined before starting the construction work. Depending on the area where a building is being constructed, seismic load, wind load has to be assessed, to ensure that if any natural disasters take place, the building is safe," added the official.
The civic agency issues a completion certificate only after ensuring that it has a structural safety certificate from a structural engineer.
The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act says every building owner in the city should procure a certificate before he or she occupies the place.
"If we make it mandatory for people to get completion certificate, people will start applying for it. It will also help us keep a tab on structurally-safe structures," said Deep Mathur, director, press and information, MCD.