Maintenance of the flats is not our business: DDA
“This will collapse if you try driving a small nail in it,” says Shobha Lamba (40), a resident of L1, Kalkaji DDA flats, pointing at the rear wall of a building in this south Delhi neighbourhood.india Updated: Feb 22, 2010 00:41 IST
“This will collapse if you try driving a small nail in it,” says Shobha Lamba (40), a resident of L1, Kalkaji DDA flats, pointing at the rear wall of a building in this south Delhi neighbourhood.
The wall in question is literally bursting with absorbed seepage.
Swollen on the surface, it’s a wonder how it supports one side of a two-storey building. “The ground floor owner wants the first-floor residents to fix this because it’s their toilet that’s seeping into the wall. It’s been a stalemate.”
If this building falls down crushing a few lives under it, there’s no one residents can blame, certainly not the DDA, which built the colony some 35 years ago.
In its carefully scripted legal deeds, the DDA washes its hands of any responsibility for the construction and upkeep of the buildings once the flats are allotted.
“I have never seen any DDA official visit our colony checking the health of the buildings in the past 35 years,” says Dr RP Sharma (61), president of Kalkaji DDA flats Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA). “Such is the construction quality that I’ve had to renovate every three-four years.”
The flats belong to individual owners, who are supposed to maintain the health of their flats. But who owns the staircases that join all the flats and are used by all? Who should repair the toilet shafts should they develop seepage?
There is no clear answer.
The legalese surrounding the allotment of the flats are such that the DDA is no better than fly by night ‘builders’ who leave flat owners to their fate after their part of the deal is over. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is in charge of sanitation and upkeep of the parks and the areas.
But the building itself is nobody's baby. Neemo Dhar, DDA spokeswoman simply says, “Once the allottees take possession, the maintenance of the buildings is not our responsibility.”
Kalkaji is just one case in point.
Thousands of residents across DDA colonies, from Dilshad Garden, to Janakpuri and from Munirka to Gulabi Bagh in the North, have been battling this grey area for generations.
“Ground-floor owners don’t want to repair staircases as they don’t climb them,” said AK Oberoi (60), Janakpuri C4-E resident.
The DDA has a simple solution. It assumes residents will sort out “trivial issues” harmoniously. “Residents are to form RWAs, which take care of common-use areas,” Dhar says.
Clearly that has not worked.
The acrimony in among residents is evident in the fact that Kalkaji DDA flats have had a separate RWA of first floor residents since 1989. The repair, renovation or even reincarnation of the flats had depended on its individual owner’s financial expediency.
The DDA couldn’t care less.