The Centre for Disaster Management of the Haryana Institute of Public Administration (HIPA) has written to the Haryana town and country planning department on Monday to carry out mandatory structural audit of all buildings – government and private – in all cities and to start the practice from Gurgaon.
The move comes after repeated seismic activity in the South Asian region. Since the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, Gurgaon, Delhi and other NCR areas have experienced after effects of earthquakes with epicentres in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
“We have written to the town and country planning department to carry out mandatory structural audit of high-rises in Gurgaon and to follow it in other cities of the state,” SP Gupta, HIPA director general, said. He said a compliance report has also been sought in this direction.
A structural audit is conducted to assess whether norms laid down by the National Building Code of India are followed in construction. The audit is required to be conducted by a team involving structural engineers, subject experts and concerned government officials.
Following the Nepal quake, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon had commissioned a structural audit of buildings in May last year, but it did not reach any conclusion. A three-member committee headed by an executive engineer was formed but the audit was not completed.
Gurgaon, like the rest of NCR, falls in high-risk seismic zone IV, making it highly vulnerable to earthquakes, said Abhay Kumar Shrivastava, head of HIPA’s Centre for disaster management that trains civil servants and others.
There is no strict adherence to the guidelines of National Building Code of India when its comes to granting permission for construction of buildings, Shrivastava said.
The city houses over 1,500 housing societies, including mid-rise and high-rise buildings. Experts say Gurgaon lies on tectonic fault lines and is prone to incidents such as the 2001 Bhuj earthquake.
“There is a lack of preparedness in tackling such natural disasters. We suspect high-rises in the city are quake-prone” Shrivastava said.
An earthquake of 6.0 magnitude had hit Gurgaon in August 1960 but there was no considerable loss as the area was only a village at that time.
President of National Real Estate Development Corporation (NAREDCO) Parveen Jain said, “Structural audit for all residential and commercial complexes is carried out and occupation certificates are issued only after that.”
The structural audit commissioned by the MCG was aimed at assessing buildings, particularly those in a dilapidated condition. After the audit, such buildings were to be declared unsafe and dangerous, an MCG official said.
The three-member committee was asked to focus on old Gurgaon first, where some buildings are around 70 years old.
The committee assessed a few buildings but the exercise did not yield desired results, an official of the corporation said.