A portion of a primary school building adjacent to an under-construction underground multi-level parking collapsed in Pitampura area of North Delhi late on Friday night. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
It has been learnt that water from the ground got accumulated under the parking construction site of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), rendering the soil around it soft and caved-in. The soft soil could not hold the weight of the school building and the old structure collapsed under its own weight.
"Construction of a multi-level parking was going on adjacent to the school building. Heavy digging had happened there but underground water wasn't being pumped out by the contractor, which led to softening of the soil and a portion of ground, from where a Jal board pipeline was passing through, sunk in causing water leakage. It further triggered the collapse of the school building," said PK Gupta, Commissioner, NDMC.
The DJB pipeline started leaking at 8:30 pm and by around 10:30 pm the auditorium of the school had collapsed.
The NDMC has filed an FIR against the contractor who has been untraceable. "The work at the parking site was going on very slow and the contractor didn't bother to build concrete surface to stop the soil cave-in. About 45 feet digging had been done and it was expected that the ground water would come to the surface. De-watering through submersible pumps was needed 24x7," said a senior NDMC engineer.
Meanwhile, the corporation has started hardening the walls of the underground parking area. "The monsoon is approaching and we have to solidify the walls within a week. After many hiccups and a delay of three years, the work at the parking site started in February 2011. It would have been completed by now had the contractor been active in following the deadline," the officer added.
Chief engineer of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) will undertake a probe prepare a detailed report.
The shopkeepers of the nearby market kept their shops closed on Saturday as a mark of protest. "We had complained against the contractor for flouting safety norms but nothing was done," said Ratan Lal, a shopkeeper.