If an earthquake strikes, colonies along the riverbed and in the Walled City will be the most vulnerable.
More than two years ago, 71 people had died when a building collapsed in east Delhi’s Lalita Park. Experts cited several reasons behind the collapse. For one, regular seepage from the Yamuna river had weakened the building’s foundation.
In fact, most colonies of east Delhi have come up near the river bed. Their basements are often flooded with water due to seepage, which in turn damages foundations.
“The soil near the river bed is sandy and so more vulnerable to damage. The narrow, unplanned lanes of these areas will affect rescue operations in these areas. Moreover, building frames here are under-sized,” said Nazrul Islam, professor, department of civil engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia and seismology expert.
East Delhi is located in seismic zone IV, the second highest earthquake hazard zone in India. Despite that, most unauthorised colonies have been constructed in violation of all building norms.
“Norms are blatantly violated as the pressure is to complete the work quickly. As per National Building Code norms for seismic zone IV, all walls should be nine-inch-thick and have steel-reinforced pillars, but to save money, most buildings have just four-inch-thick walls,” said an east corporation official.