It was a combination of poor construction material and uprooting of a 100-year-old Peepal tree and a 20-feet gate that led to collapse of the building at plot number 833 of Chandni Mahal on Tuesday night.
The building is known as Katra Data Ram Ki Haweli. Residents of the area said that the plot had been sold to several people in the past few years. This, it seems, is a norm in the Walled City where bigger plots, over a period of time, are sub-divided into smaller sections and sold to several people.
''A lot has changed in the past four months. The builder chopped down the age-old tree that acted as a support to the building. This weakened its base. The matter was brought to the notice of the forest department but no action was taken,'' Salim Ashraf, a resident of Chandni Mahal said. Ashraf said the original owner of the plot had sold it to three persons.
''Those three owners gave it to a builder to construct flats which could be given on rent. The builder had also removed the 20-feet long gate that acted as a supporting pillar,'' Ashraf added.
''Entry to the building was through a massive gate common in old havelis. Being heavy, the gate was supported by big stones. Removing it created cracks in the adjoining buildings,'' said Imran, another resident.
The building that collapsed shared its boundary wall with another building, where illegal construction was being carried out.
''When the boundary of the illegal floor was razed by the builder to reconstruct it, it led to cracks in the building which crumbled. Also, the building had been constructed with lakhori bricks, which means it is at least 100-years-old, and hence had become weak over this time,'' said a MCD official.