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Delhi building collapse: Visited structure but it was not dangerous, says municipal body

Constructed 25 years ago, the building was dilapidated. Local residents alleged they had filed several complaints with the North Delhi Municipal Corporation but the agency didn’t take any action

delhi Updated: Sep 27, 2018 01:48 IST
Vibha Sharma and Risha Chitlangia
Vibha Sharma and Risha Chitlangia
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi building collapse,Sawan Park,North Delhi Municipal Corporation
Rescue workers carry out the operation after a three-storey building collapsed at Ashok Vihar, in northwest Delhi, India, on Wednesday September 26, 2018.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

There are 178 ‘dangerous’ structures in the national Capital as per a 2018 report by the three municipal corporations. But the building at Sawan Park, which collapsed on Wednesday, was not on that list.

Constructed 25 years ago, the building was dilapidated. Local residents alleged they had filed several complaints with the North Delhi Municipal Corporation but the agency didn’t take any action. They said there are at least three-four other buildings in the neighbourhood in a similar state and demanded that these be declared dangerous.

Ravi Gupta, whose father had a shop in the collapsed building, said, “We had filed the complaint with MCD last year as soon as the building started tilting. We were worried that it may collapse any day. However, no action was taken by the civic agency.”

A north corporation official said, “When we visited the buildings before monsoon, we didn’t find any wear and tear. The building didn’t meet the criteria to be declared dangerous.”

The civic agency carries out a survey every year before monsoon to identify dangerous buildings. In 2017, the three civic agencies had identified 15 dangerous structures, including one in south Delhi’s Budhela village, four in east Delhi and 10 in north.

All but one of the 178 dangerous buildings in the city are located in north Delhi. Of these 171 are in Narela zone, two in Rohini, 1 in Civil Lines and 3 in City-Sadar Paharganj. As per reports, there were no dangerous buildings in south Delhi while East Delhi Municipal Corporation identified just one building in its pre-monsoon survey.

After the Lalita Park (in east Delhi) building collapse in 2010, the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) with the help of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) had done a detailed survey of buildings in east Delhi.

KS Mehra, former MCD commissioner, said, “We had identified dangerous buildings. We had brought in changes in the
sanctioning process to ensure that the buildings are safe,” he added.

Chandan Ghosh, professor and head of infrastructure resilient division, NIDM, said, “We had recommended that buildings with stilt should be retrofitted, as these buildings can suffer damage during earthquake. We also found that there were several buildings which were not in a condition to be retrofitted.”

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 01:48 IST