Amid fear other buildings in society may fall, govt says will act after audit | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Amid fear other buildings in society may fall, govt says will act after audit

By, New Delhi
Feb 13, 2022 04:10 AM IST

Although the police are still trying to ascertain the official ownership of the building, senior officers said they will send notices to the agencies concerned for original documentation regarding the construction of the complex, which was built under the Rajiv Ratan Awas Yojna.

A day after a four-storey building collapsed near Bawana village, killing four and injuring two, the Delhi government on Saturday said any decision regarding the overall safety of other buildings in the housing complex will depend on the outcome of the ongoing departmental inquiry into the incident.

Rescue work in progress after a portion of a building collapsed in a JJ Colony, Bawana, in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
Rescue work in progress after a portion of a building collapsed in a JJ Colony, Bawana, in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)

The police, meanwhile, registered a case of death by negligence under the Indian Penal Code’s section 304A against unknown people on Saturday at Narela Industrial Area (NIA) police station.

“Whether buildings in the entire area need a safety audit will be decided only after the inquiry report is submitted. Any further intervention is dependent on the outcome of the report,” a senior official of the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) said on condition of anonymity.

“Until then, however, we have deployed our teams to carry out a preliminary inspection of the said building and the area around it. Besides, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is also closely monitoring the situation and is working on the ground,” the official added.

The state government ordered the departmental inquiry on Friday, soon after the collapse.

Although the police are still trying to ascertain the official ownership of the building, senior officers said they will send notices to the agencies concerned for original documentation regarding the construction of the complex, which was built under the Rajiv Ratan Awas Yojna. The police will also ask which agencies were handed the buildings.

“As of now, we have registered a case against unknown persons. But during the investigation, we will establish the ownership of the building and action will be taken accordingly. Our probe will focus on ascertaining and prosecuting the agency whose negligence led to the building collapse, the four deaths and injuries to the two women,” said deputy commissioner of police (outer-north) Brijendra Kumar Yadav.

A police officer associated with the probe said that although the exact reason behind the building collapsed will be ascertained after the inquiry is complete, some civil engineers who the police called in said constant seepages and the continued theft of iron rods, windows, doors, and other fittings from the building left lasting structural damage.

“The engineers told us that a lack of maintenance since its construction led to the structure constantly decaying. Almost all other buildings in the housing complex are in a similar ramshackle condition and they may collapse in the future. The complex is spread out, and there are no boundary walls or gates to stop people from entering. We did not find a security guard deployed by the agency that owns the building,” the officer added.

Around 2.30 pm on Friday, the four-storey vacant building spread in a 100-square-metre area came crashing down on six people, including three women and a nine-year-old girl, who were either inside or near the building. All of them were residents of the nearby slums in the Bawana JJ Colony. Local residents said the victims were there to herd cattle.

The deceased were identified as Rukaiya Khatoon (55), Afrina (9), and two men identified by their first names – Shahzad (25), and Danish (24). The two injured were identified as Fatima (21), and Shahnaz (28).

People living in the vicinity said more tragedies would unfold if the government fails to take immediate action to either demolish the structures or repair them.

“All the buildings have been hollowed out because thieves and drug addicts have taken out bars and iron rods from the pillars,” Paramjit Singh, a local resident, told reporters.

Akhtar Ali, Rukaiya Khatoon’s nephew, said that the government should take immediate measures to ensure the incident isn’t repeated.

“This time we lost a family member, tomorrow someone else will meet the same fate if the government doesn’t do anything,” said Ali.

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