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Civic bodies hope notices, survey will save buildings

Buildings deemed “dangerous” by the city’s municipal corporations as part of their monsoon action plans are supposed to be torn down after evacuation, but such on-paper exercises rarely yield results. Ritam Halder reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 13, 2013 01:03 IST
Ritam Halder
Ritam Halder
Hindustan Times
unsafe buildings,East Delhi,Chandni Chowk building collapse

Buildings deemed “dangerous” by the city’s municipal corporations as part of their monsoon action plans are supposed to be torn down after evacuation, but such on-paper exercises rarely yield results, causing the tottering structures to collapse, mostly during the wet season.

In a span of mere 10 days, two buildings have collapsed in the Capital — a 100-year-old building housing offices and shops came down in Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area a few days ago and the Bengali Club, situated close to the Kashmere Gate wall on Boulevard Road, collapsed on Saturday night. Yet, the civic bodies claim that action is being taken.

South Delhi Municipal Corporation commissioner Manish Gupta said all its junior engineers and superintendent engineers were trained in rapid visual survey by the National Disaster Management Authority. “Our officials are well-equipped. We identify and give notices of vacation or demolition to dangerous buildings,” Gupta said.

East Delhi has many unsafe buildings that can fall like a pack of cards if a major earthquake strikes the Capital (the city is in the high-risk seismic Zone IV). It also has the highest number of unauthorised colonies where houses have been constructed on weak foundations.

According to East Delhi Municipal Corporation commissioner S Kumaraswamy, the civic body takes all possible precautions. “Even last week, two buildings in Shahdara North were earmarked. One was demolished by the corporation while the other was razed by the owner,” Kumaraswamy told Hindustan Times. “Our ground level is low and, therefore, we have to be more prompt,” he said.

The Walled City, too, is full of dilapidated buildings with the civic agency turning a blind eye rather than demolishing them. North Delhi Municipal Corporation commissioner PK Gupta said the structures of the buildings of Old Delhi are not very strong. “Most of them are over 200 years old. We do surveys of dangerous buildings and also act on residents’ complaints,” Gupta said.

The civic bodies need to go beyond mere surveys’ claims and trainings if the threat of collapsing buildings is to be tackled.

First Published: Aug 13, 2013 00:59 IST