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
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