RG Education Not safe enough City to boost Kundli’s for­tunes for quakes

De­mand for res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­er­ties to go up too Delhi-NCR build­ings are in the spot­light as NDMA says struc­tures on stilts are un­safe in seis­mic zone IV

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Van­dana Ram­nani

It is said that “in­struc­tion ends in the school-room, but education ends only with life.” Con­tin­u­ing this legacy is the Ra­jiv Gandhi Education City (RGEC). Spread across 5000 acres in Kundli, dis­trict Soni­pat, RGEC it is hoped will change the for­tunes of the area in the way the IT sec­tor trans­formed Gur­gaon al­most a decade ago. Barely a 15-minute drive from Delhi, RGEC is lo­cated along the NH1 and is ex­pected to at­tract lakhs of stu­dents when com­plete. The education city will be de­vel­oped into a world-class town and will boost de­mand for res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­er­ties in the re­gion.

After the suc­cess of north Delhi colonies l i ke Model Town, Shal­i­mar Bagh, Civil Lines, Ashok Na­gar due to the huge de­mand com­ing f rom north cam­pus which has only 20 Col­leges, RGEC will have a 100 times mul­ti­plier im­pact in the res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial mar­ket of Soni­pat and Kundli.

Ac­cord­ing to Ka­mal Taneja, m a n a g i n g d i r e c t o r, T D I In­fra­corp, “Pres­ence of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the re­gion will in­crease the de­mand for res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial spa­ces and pro­vide world-class in­fra­struc­ture to the city where a 135-km-long Kundli-Mane­sarPal­wal (KMP) Ex­press­way and Kundli-Gazi­abad-Pal­wal (KGP) Ex­press­way with in­ter-con­nects for na­tional high­ways 1, 2, 8 and 10 are be­ing built. Apart from road con­nec­tiv­ity, the gov­ern­ment is also fo­cused on im­prov­ing the rail net­work. Kundli is ex­pected to have a Metro stop as part of the Rapid Rail Trans­port Sys­tem that will con­nect ISBT to Soni­pat in 20 min­utes.”

San­tosh Ku­mar, CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle, says that the move is a much- needed step by the state to pro­mote higher education and im­prove the for­tunes of the city. From a fu­ture in­vest­ment per­spec­tive, the re­gion will con­tinue to re­main promis­ing due to its prox­im­ity to north Delhi and Delhi bor­ders. Prop­erty in­vestors can ex­plore Kundli for its af­ford­able op­tions.

Most ar­eas in Delhi NCR fall under Zone 1V, a se­vere in­ten­sity seis­mic zone, sec­ond only to the most risk-prone Zone V. And if the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Author­ity guide­lines on Seis­mic Retrofitting of De­fi­cient Build­ings and Struc­tures are an in­di­ca­tion, build­ings with stilts or open ground floors might be in ur­gent need of retrofitting to with­stand an earth­quake.

Mak­ing the stilt open ground floor free of floor area ra­tio ( FAR) if used for park­ing seemed to be a move in the right di­rec­tion as it solved the park­ing prob­lem in a high land cost area such as Delhi. Even the Delhi Master Plan 2021 rec­om­mended that the stilt floor need not be in­cluded in FAR and be counted to­wards height.

The NDMA guide­lines, how­ever, state that a spe­cial class of build­ings has emerged in a big way across the coun­try called open ground storey build­ings or build­ings on stilts. It is stated that th­ese do not con­form to preva­lent In­dian stan­dards for earth­quake safety. Th­ese build­ings are flex­i­ble and weak in the open ground storey com­pared to the storeys above. A large num­ber of th­ese low-strength re­in­forced con­crete (RC) build­ings col­lapsed dur­ing 2001 Bhuj earth­quake. Most of th­ese build­ings, not de­signed prop­erly, may be able to carry grav­ity loads but could be de­fi­cient in strength to with­stand de­for­ma­tions im­posed on them dur­ing strong earth­quake shak­ing.

Prima fa­cie, says NDMA, all build­ings on stilts are un­safe and may col­lapse in case there is an earth­quake/seis­mic risk. The Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act 1986 also gives ev­ery ci­ti­zen the right to ac­quire knowl­edge about the prod­uct that he is buy­ing, in­clud­ing an earth­quake- safe house. The NDMA vide its doc­u­ment ti­tled Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Guide­lines – On En­sur­ing Dis­as­ter Re­silient Con­struc­tion of Build­ings and In­fra­struc­ture Fi­nanced Through Banks and Other Lend­ing In­sti­tu­tions ( Septem­ber 2010), also cat­e­gorised earth­quake-re­sis­tant build­ings in four cat­e­gories as per their ex­pected per­for­mance in the event of a se­vere earth­quake and spec­i­fied each cat­e­gory as: fully op­er­a­tional, i mme­di­ate oc­cu­pancy, l i f e safety and col­lapse pre­ven­tion. Fol­low­ing are the def­i­ni­tions:

Fully op­er­a­tional level of earth­quake re­sis­tance: A build­ing, its con­tents and util­i­ties be­ing shaken by an earth­quake, but no dam­age oc­cur­ring in ei­ther of the above; func­tion­ing of the build­ing not dis­rupted due to the earth­quake.

An im­me­di­ate oc­cu­pancy level of earth­quake re­sis­tance: The build­ing, its con­tents and util­i­ties are shaken pre­dom­i­nantly in their lin­ear range of be­hav­iour with only mi­nor dam­age. As use of func­tions of the build­ing and fa­cil­i­ties is not re­stricted after the earth­quake, its func­tion­ing can be re­sumed im­me­di­ately after the earth­quake.

Life safety: The build­ing, its con­tents and util­i­ties are shaken se­verely in their non­lin­ear range of be­hav­iour. Sig­nif­i­cant dam­age oc­curs,

A large num­ber of re­in­forced con­crete build­ings on stilts col­lapsed dur­ing the 2001 Gu­jarat earth­quake


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