Free wa­ter, power, but lakhs of lives at risk

Will the Delhi gov­ern­ment wake up to the real is­sues and take some mea­sures to stop build­ing of unau­tho­rised struc­tures that risk pre­cious lives?

HT Estates - - NEWS - Jee­van Prakash Sharma Talk to us Have you ob­tained a struc­tural safety cer­tifi­cate? Share your ex­pe­ri­ences with us

The newly-elected Aam Admi Party which f or ms t he gover nment in Delhi, has fo­cused on wa­ter and power is­sues as key for the peo­ple liv­ing in the Cap­i­tal. It has slashed the monthly tar­iff for elec­tric­ity consumption of up to 400 units by 50% and an­nounced 667 litres of free wa­ter daily for each house­hold with a me­tered con­nec­tion. Lit­tle does it re­alise, how­ever, that wa­ter and power are noth­ing com­pared to the big­gest threat that lakhs of Del­hi­ites face to­day. That of un­safe build­ings.

A c c o r d i n g t o N at i o n a l Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment In­sti­tute (NDMI), a ma­jor­ity of Delhi’s build­ings are struc­turally vul­ner­a­ble to any kind of nat­u­ral or man-made tragedy be­cause safe hous­ing norms have al­ways been con­ve­niently over­looked by peo­ple in con­nivance with gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties.

Three years af­ter the Lalita Park tragedy, in which 73 peo­ple died when a five-storey il­le­gally con­structed build­ing col­lapsed, more than one lakh dwelling units have come up in both the au­tho­rised and unau­tho­rised colonies in the Cap­i­tal. Not even 10% of these build­ings ad­here to struc­tural safety norms.

If one re­calls, soon af­ter the Lalita Park tragedy, the rev­enue depart­ment of Delhi gov­ern­ment is­sued a cir­cu­lar dated March 30, 2011, stat­ing that no prop­erty could be reg­is­tered un­less a cer­tifi­cate of struc­tural safety by the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity was fur­nished. This brought down the av­er­age num­ber of reg­is­tra­tions from 400 daily to about six or seven, caus­ing the gov­ern­ment huge rev­enue losses. The Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion of Delhi had also at that time ad­mit­ted to not hav­ing any struc­tural safety en­gi­neer on its rolls to as­sess the strength of the build­ing and cer­tify it.

“Con­se­quently, the gov­ern­ment on April 26, 2011, with­drew its or­der and al­lowed the reg­is­tra­tion of prop­er­ties with­out sanc­tioned build­ing plans and struc­tural safety cer­tifi­cate. The gov­ern­ment pre­ferred rev­enue over the safety of its cit­i­zens. In­stead of over­turn­ing its own or­der, the gov­ern­ment should have looked at ways to stop the on­go­ing and fu­ture con­struc­tion of un­safe build­ings and MCD should have im­me­di­ately em­pan­elled struc­tural safety ex­perts,” says a se­nior MCD of­fi­cer in east Delhi on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The April 26, 2011, or­der, how­ever, did al­low MCD to book unau­tho­rised con­struc­tion and put up de­tails of such cases on its web­site. Sec­tor 2 Sec­tor 3 Sec­tor 4 Sec­tor 5 Sec­tor 6 Sec­tor 7 Sec­tor 8

Shots of res­cue work at Lalita Park where 73 peo­ple died when a five-storey il­le­gally con­structed build­ing col­lapsed three years ago. (In­set) The site now

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