Experts say NDMC legalisation move is dangerous
The proposal has come at a time when the SC-appointed monitoring committee is taking steps against illegal constructions in the city and has sealed a large number of commercial units not complying with norms.Updated: Aug 01, 2019, 06:45 IST
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s move to regularise illegal construction in planned residential areas in its jurisdiction has come under sharp criticism from urban planners and structural safety experts as well as the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee to check on unauthorised construction in the city.
Experts say illegal structures become vulnerable and dangerous over a period of time. They also pose a risk to the main structure. They said the move will encourage people to violate building bye-laws and encourage unauthorised constructions.
“Any illegal construction puts more pressure on the overall infrastructure, making the structure more vulnerable,” said Shamsher Singh, former chief town planner, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
The proposal, Singh said, had been introduced earlier as well. “Such a scheme gives an impression that those violating the law could get away with it while law-abiding people are being penalised,” Singh said.
The proposal has come at a time when the SC-appointed monitoring committee is taking steps against illegal constructions in the city and has sealed a large number of commercial units not complying with norms.
Bhure Lal, member of the SC-appointed monitoring committee, questioned the move: “If every time a scheme is introduced bringing unauthorised constructions under the legal cover, then why make building bye-laws in the first place?”
Bhure Lal said, “There is no use of creating building plans with floor area ratio (FAR), etc., if violation of the same has to be ‘regularised’. Such violations affect civic amenities as well as harm the building. The corporations must do some rethinking about wanting to earn revenue at what cost. This is being proposed when most of buildings across the city are not earthquake-proof.”
According to the corporation’s plan, the scheme will not cover encroachment on government land, height violations (above 17.5 metres) and plots that do not have structural safety certificate, as required under the Master Plan of Delhi-2021.
Dr Chandan Ghosh, professor and head of Resilient Infrastructure Division, National Institute of Disaster Management, feels buildings must be treated as human beings, which means their health has to be monitored and maintained from time to time.
Ghosh He says it is essential to conduct a survey of the structural safety of such buildings. Such buildings are rather “cancerous” and it’s not warranted to legalise illegal constructions.
“When changes are made to an existing structure and that too without following the national building code, the effects are felt only later when there is a calamity such as an earthquake or heavy rainfall, etc...illegal constructions create more vulnerability to a building’s structure. In case of political decisions like this, experts or professionals must be engaged to certify structural safety of buildings.”