3-storey building, abandoned by its owner, collapses in Delhi’s Bhajanpura
According to police and fire officials, nobody was injured in the incident. However, a portion of another building in the same lane and power lines were damaged due to the collapse
Debris from a three-storey building that collapsed in the Vijay Park area in north-east Delhi’s Bhajanpura on Wednesday afternoon was yet to be removed till Thursday evening, said local residents. The building that was abandoned by the owner nearly two months ago was standing on a 25 square yards plot.
According to police and fire officials, nobody was injured in the incident. However, a portion of another building in the same lane and power lines were damaged due to the collapse. A video of the incident shared on Twitter, shows the entire structure first tilting to the front and then coming down with a loud noise.
Even though the owner, a local builder, claimed that the structure had been declared dangerous by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), both the civic body and the police denied that an official assessment of the building’s structural integrity was made by any agency.
Deputy commissioner of police (north-east) Joy Tirkey said the occupants of the building vacated it on their own. “The occupants of the building vacated it on their own around two months ago after the structure started developing cracks. No agency had red-flagged it or had inspected it,” said Tirkey.
In an official statement on Thursday, MCD said a complaint regarding the building collapse was received at the control room of the Shahdara North zone Wednesday. “The site was immediately inspected and it was found that the building had four floors, including ground floor. The building had shops on the ground floor and residential units on first, second and third floors. The malba (debris) of the existing structure is being removed from the site by maintenance division,” the statement said.
An MCD spokesperson denied comment on the claim that the structure was declared dangerous by the civic body.
Aarif Malik, owner of the building, said seepage from a faulty sewage line had weakened the building’s foundation. He said the building had developed cracks and subsequently collapsed. “We raised the issue with MCD officials a number of times, but the problem was not addressed. They only declared this building ‘dangerous’ without giving a solution. Taking note of the weakening base of the building, I asked all the tenants to vacate it. That is why, no loss of life has taken place in this accident,” he alleged.
The owner of the second building where a portion of the terrace was damaged in the collapse did not say much when asked about who was responsible for the incident. “We were not aware that Malik’s building had been declared ‘dangerous’ and on what grounds,” he said asking not to be named.
A third resident of the same lane alleged that builders in the locality make additional floors without giving a thought about the narrow base of the structure. “Everyone here has a 25 square yard plot, and all of them want to mint money. As a result, they build multi-storey buildings. This incident will hopefully open their eyes and make them understand what such mindless construction can cause,” the 35-year-old resident said asking not to be named.
Anil Kumar Sharma, the local BJP councillor, alleged that despite being the constituency of a Delhi government’s minister, no JCB or truck has appeared at the place of occurrence. “This area is a hunting ground for builders and their political masters. For the last 24 hours, there has been no electricity in our area and the road is blocked. But nobody has come forward,” he said.
When contacted, an official of power company BSES said power had been restored in the area within two hours of the building collapse, and no complaints had been received after that.