Two days after a 150-year-old building in Old Delhi’s Chandni Mahal collapsed, killing seven, walls of more buildings in the area collapsed on Thursday, creating panic among residents.
But the Delhi Police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) do not appear keen on taking action regarding such buildings. On Thursday, MCD officials vacated five buildings on plot number 880, opposite plot number 833, that collapsed on Tuesday.
The buildings had been declared “dangerous” after an inspection by the civic agency found several cracks in them. Some of them were tilting precariously towards one another.
But although the buildings were vacated for demolition, no action was initiated. The demolition equipment did not arrive. The Delhi Police, which is supposed to cordon off the area and secure it, also did not turn up. Senior MCD officials were also not present.
“Police personnel are busy with security arrangements for Ramlila, which is being held in various grounds and mandals across the city,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.
Following the collapse of the four-storey building on plot 833, residents of plot 880 have made several calls to the MCD to initiate some action.
The buildings on plot 880 are also more than 100 years old and have deteriorated over a period of time.
“On Thursday morning, pillars of a building on this plot started crumbling. We immediately called up the MCD helpline and registered a complaint,” said Saleem Ashraf, a resident of Chandni Mahal.
“An MCD team asked residents of all the buildings inside the plot to vacate. But nothing was done.”
In the last two days, the civic agency and the Delhi Police have received around 50 calls from anxious residents reporting cracks in their buildings.
“Residents have been making calls about dangerous buildings in their neighbourhood. After checking the authenticity of the calls, we forward the complaints to the MCD,” said a police officer at Chandni Mahal police station, who did not wish to be named.
“Of the 25 calls we received, walls collapsed in at least five buildings on Thursday, and one building is in danger of collapsing any time,” said an MCD official on condition of anonymity.
The agency has checked more buildings in the area and has detected dangerous cracks in buildings on plot numbers 466, 479, 704 and 880.
Residents are worried about the fate of their homes after many of their buildings were declared “dangerous”.
“The MCD got plot number 880 vacated and now we are wondering what will happen to our building. We felt tremors in our building too when the building on plot 833 collapsed on Tuesday,” said Suman, a resident of plot number 875.