Quake-hit building collapses, triggers scare in south Delhi

  • Ritam Halder, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 09, 2015 01:02 IST
Occupants of the collapsed building vacated the premises after more cracks appeared in the aftermath of the October earthquake. (S Burmaula/ HT Photo)

A four-storey building partially collapsed at an unauthorised colony in Safdarjung Enclave triggering fear of a domino effect on the adjoining buildings on Sunday.

Even though there has been no casualty, police and corporation officials fear it might harm other buildings in Arjun Nagar.

Occupants of the building had vacated the premises after the tremors of the recent earthquake in October led to serious damage to the structure.

“Six months back, after the Nepal earthquake, a huge crack had developed in the building. We called a neighbourhood builder who said it was fine and won’t cause any serious problem. After the tremors of October 26 quake, the crack got bigger and it got scary. All of us moved to other places nearby. This morning the whole building just tilted and almost fell on the adjoining structures,” Manish Pawar, one of the occupants of the damaged building, said.

Police, civil defence volunteers and South Delhi Municipal Corporation officials evacuated all the nearby buildings. Even the foundation of the building behind the collapsed one is completely damaged and the civic body officials issued a ‘dangerous building’ notice to its occupants.

The partially collapsed structure is being demolished very carefully to ensure no harm is caused to the other buildings, a building department official said.

Former commissioner of planning in Delhi Development Authority, AK Jain, said the reason why incidents of building collapse keep happening in unauthorised colonies is haphazard development.

“In these unauthorised colonies that earlier had single-storey buildings, you will now find 4-5 storey structures without even proper foundation. How can these stand firm with so much load? And

this is the case with about 50% of the city’s buildings,” Jain said.

He said that the civic bodies’ apathy has led to the structures getting damaged further.

According to Jain, the corporation is supposed to give structural safety certificates before approving a building plan so that a lot of structures can be saved by identifying flaws at the nascent stage.

It was supposed to start in 2007 but has been postponed indefinitely in a city where these houses with weak foundation can fall like a pack of cards if a major earthquake strikes.

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