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HomeDelhiMCD survey of unsafe buildings still ongoing | Latest News Delhi

MCD survey of unsafe buildings still ongoing | Latest News Delhi

MCD survey of unsafe buildings still ongoing | Latest News Delhi

Officials from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Sunday said the agency was yet to complete its survey of identifying “dangerous buildings” prone to collapse or structural damage during rains — a pre-monsoon exercise aimed at safeguarding such structures.

A portion of an old building collapsed in Ballimaran last week. (HT Photo)

The civic body was to examine 2,884,164 properties this year, out of which 2,307,405 have been looked at till June 27 — indicating an 80% completion of the task at hand — according to an MCD report, a copy of which HT has seen. A senior MCD official said that only four dangerous structures have been identified this year.

“The survey is still on. We have declared four houses as ‘dangerous’, which are located in Kalyanpuri, east Delhi, in the Shahdara South zone,” the official said, requesting anonymity. MCD has marked five other houses as “poor but repairable” in Sultanpuri, Vikas Vihar, Prem Nagar and Kirari in North Delhi.

MCD administers an area of 1397.3 sq km, which is sub-divided into 12 zones — central, south, west, Najafgarh, Rohini, Civil Lines, Karol Bagh, City-Sadar Paharganj, Keshavpuram, Narela, Shahdara North and Shahdara South. The report said that no dangerous buildings have been found in 11 of the 12 zones, barring Shahadra South.

“Of the four structures, three were located in Kalyanpuri block 15 and were demolished. The fourth building is located in Pandav Nagar (east Delhi). The owner has been asked to submit a structural safety audit of the building,” the official quote above said.

The survey is less than 70% complete in three zones — Shahdara North, Najafgarh and central zone. The survey progress rate is 62.4% in the central zone, 95.64% in the west zone, 64.68% in Najafgarh, 66.01%in Shahdara North, 80.09% in Keshavpuram, 71.52% in City Sadar Paharganj zone, 93.56% in Karol Bagh, 76.08% in Rohini and 93.93% in Civil Lines.

The civic body is responsible for conducting an annual survey of dangerous buildings across the city, in approved and unauthorised colonies and villages, before the arrival of monsoon. Last year, the building and maintenance department inspected 3,054,130 buildings and 292 of them were identified as “repairable”. Eight houses were “dangerous”, seven of them in the Rohini zone.

‘Visual survey’ often falls short

The surveys are carried out by the building departments of the civic bodies between April and June. However, they often fail to identify all of them, consequentially falling short of averting tragedies.

“A ‘visual survey’ carried out by junior engineer of the area and if engineers notice structures which are bent or show cracks, they inspect the structure from the inside. A notice is issued to the owner to get the building repaired,” a second civic official explained.

“As per procedure, notices are issued under sections 348, and 349 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act and they are provided a week to repair/demolish the structure. If the situation is not rectified, the corporation is expected to demolish the building,” the official said.

An MCD official associated with exercise said that visual surveys have limitations and only buildings with large cracks or leaning walls can be identified. “The walls, parapets and balconies are not covered in these visual surveys. Ideally, the building plans and structural integrity should be verified but most of the development in Delhi is unplanned. Under an ongoing Delhi high court case, MCD has also asked buildings older than 20 years to get structural safety audit but the compliance was minimal,” the official said.

Dheeraj Dubey, who heads the Walled City Residential Welfare Federation, which is a collective of RWAs in Old Delhi, said that numerous incidents of building collapse take place in the area every year during the monsoon, and the agencies just pay lip service. “There are many dangerous buildings in this area. Maintenance and renovation of such buildings should be carried out throughout the year. The promises of revamp are made after every building collapse incident, but then everyone forgets the issue. Many of these old buildings are heritage structures with multiple ownership and disputes. Moreover, there are so many agencies operating in the walled city that it becomes difficult to assign responsibility,” Dubey said.

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