A view of a building that collapsed at BR Niranjan Dass Ligga Press Wali Gali, Sadar Bazaar, in New Delhi.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
A view of a building that collapsed at BR Niranjan Dass Ligga Press Wali Gali, Sadar Bazaar, in New Delhi.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

6 months on, MCG yet to start building safety audit

The revelation came on a day when a three-storey building collapsed due to its weak structural integrity in Delhi’s Sadar Bazar.
By Kartik Kumar | Gurugram
UPDATED ON JUN 19, 2019 07:57 AM IST

Six months since Gurugram’s worst building collapse in recent years, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) is yet to commence the safety audit of its buildings, as directed by the district administration. Though the MCG stated that it has decided to outsource the work to a private agency because it was “not equipped”, sources said the delay was really a matter of “inefficiency”.

The revelation came on a day when a three-storey building collapsed due to its weak structural integrity in Delhi’s Sadar Bazar.

On January 25, a day after seven people were killed when a four-storey building collapsed in the ‘lal-dora’ area of Ullahawas village, the district administration had ordered the MCG, town planning department and the panchayats to audit all structures in their jurisdiction. Officials had said that the building collapsed because its structural strength was compromised after a lintel was erected to add a fourth floor.

Officials have conceded in the past that there are numerous such structures in areas of Gurugram, such as Jharsa village, DLF Phase 3, Sikanderpur and Nathupur village, where rampant illegal construction thrives.

In an official release by the district administration on February 21, deputy commissioner Amit Khatri had said the district administration will use findings of the Ullahawas building collapse to prevent a repeat of the incident anywhere in the city.

On Tuesday, Khatri said, “I do not recall receiving any report on the safety audit from the MCG. Since structural integrity of buildings is a serious issue, I will get the matter verified once again and ask the MCG to submit an update on the matter.”

On Tuesday, MCG (headquarters) executive engineer Vivek Gill said, “Given the MCG’s staff strength we realised that the civic body was not equipped to carry out a safety audit on its own. Hence, the MCG has decided to empanel an agency that would carry out the audit. The tender for this has been prepared and it needs approval from the chief town planner and chief engineer. The tender would be floated by the end of this week.”

However, a senior MCG official, who did not wish to be named, said the safety audit was delayed due to internal inefficiency. “The MCG’s six-month record in terms of checking unauthorised construction has been extremely poor. This has led to several notices and action being taken against the staff. If the MCG cannot even keep a check on illegal constructions it is aware of, how can it carry out a safety audit of buildings in the city on its own? Taking cognisance of this, senior officials have decided to outsource the work which has led to the delay,” said the official privy to the matter.

Over the last six months, MCG has taken a number of disciplinary actions against its staff for failing to check illegal constructions. Last month, MCG had suspended a sub-divisional officer in its enforcement wing for failing to check unauthorised construction in his area. In March, after receiving complaints of inaction against unauthorised constructions via social media and CM window, the then MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav had issued show-cause notices to all staffers of the engineering wing asking them to submit in writing the action taken against such violations over the past 12 months.

In January, former joint commissioner Vivek Kalia had sent a complaint to Yadav recommending a complete overhaul of outsourced employees as they had “repeatedly ignored his request to check unauthorised constructions” in their jurisdiction.

In February, the MCG had also launched an app that allows junior engineers to report encroachments. As per the data released for the first three months, 830 violations were reported through the app, which does have record of any action taken, officials said.

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