‘I have to destroy my own house’
Anguished Trilokpuri resettlement colony resident has to pay to demolish home as municipal authorities declare building dangerous after it ‘tilts’ following the recent tremors in Delhi
When tremors from the Nepal earthquake hit the Capital last month, little did Mohammad Usman, owner of an ice cream parlour and kirana shop in east Delhi’s Trilokpuri area, realise that his nightmares were just beginning, and that in just a few weeks he would be overseeing the destruction of his own home.
The building in which Usman lived ‘tilted’ dangerously a few days after the quake and was ordered by t he Municipal Corporation of Delhi to be evacuated and demolished.
While municipal corporations so f ar have tur ned a blind eye to thousands of such structures coming up in Delhi, allowing rampant constructions that are unplanned and unsafe, authorities lost no time in declaring that Usman would have to demolish his own home. They were also not willing to undertake the expenses of the demolition.
It was Usman who had to employ 10 labourers at a cost of
4,000 per day to bring down the structure. Claiming that he had followed rules while building his home and parlour, he adds that if the municipal author- ity workers did the demolition the costs would work out to be
8,000 per hour if it were to demolish the structure.
Anis, who runs a salon, and whose house – next to Usman’s – has also been declared unsafe, says most buildings in the area are masonry non-engineered structures and that it’s “unfair” that they are being “targeted.”
“After we’ve razed the two floors, a municipality team will investigate the structure and give us a certificate. We’ve been warned that if we don’t
break the structure voluntarily, the officials will not clear the design/map in the future,” Usman alleges.
When contacted, a senior municipality official said that the “building has been declared dangerous and the owners have been given time to demolish it and have to follow the order.”
What have authorities being doing till now? Abhay Gupta, director, Skeleton/ Escom Consultants P Ltd, says that most constructions in this particular resettlement colony and
other such colonies in Delhi are located on the Yamuna riverbed. Most of the structures have a shallow foundation and are largely non-engineered. What this means is that their foundation is weak due to the ground water level being high.
Split wide open:
Gaps have appeared between buildings in Trilokpuri after a recent tremblor (top). Residents claim that they ‘taped the buildings’ for safety. Homeowners in Trilokpuri ‘taped’ their houses for safety Structures are built by local contractors with no engineering expertise