Hours after the collapse of an old four-story building in Sabzi Mandi, north Delhi, the region’s civic body today ordered an investigation into the incident and decided to reassess the condition of all dangerous buildings in its six zones.
About 700 buildings located in areas under the jurisdiction of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation were declared unsafe structures in a pre-monsoon investigation, senior officials said.
Although the building that collapsed today was not declared a dangerous structure in the investigation, nine properties located on Main Road, Old Subzi Mandi, where the incident took place, have been classified as dangerous, they said.
And, a total of 20 structures were declared unsafe in the Malka Ganj neighborhood, where the collapsed building was located, the civic body said.
Driven by the incident, City Commissioner Sanjay Goel today ordered an investigation and requested a report thereon in seven days.
“An investigation was ordered by the Commissioner, NDMC into this unfortunate incident to be carried out by the Building Department (HQ), and ordered for the submission of a report within seven days. In addition, the necessary action against the offending official , if any, will be taken after receipt of the report, “NDMC said in a statement.
The commissioner said that a new assessment of all hazardous buildings identified during the last survey in the six areas of NDMC will be carried out.
“In order to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future, a thorough investigation of the areas will be carried out again within the next 48 hours, in particular of the buildings which have already been identified as dangerous. The buildings which will be found at imminent risk after the new investigation will be released from its occupants by the company, in accordance with the statutes, ”the statement said.
The commissioner also ordered all zonal authorities to delegate zonal engineers for the reassessment of the condition of buildings and structures already declared unsafe, and to take immediate action in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, in the cases, which are found to be high risk, officials said.
The company will also recommend to the government appropriate incentives for the modernization or rehabilitation of these dangerous buildings and the rehabilitation of the occupants of the buildings until the rehabilitation or modernization works are completed, the NDMC said.
The safety of old houses and other structures became a priority when two boys, aged seven and 12, were killed after the four-story building collapsed in the Sabzi Mandi area of north Delhi on Monday after- midday.
NDMC authorities earlier said the building was around 75 years old. However, later in the statement he said the structure was around 50 to 60 years old and had four floors.
On the ground floor, a confectionery was operated, while the upper floors would have been residential in nature. The upper floors were vacant and no construction activity was underway. In addition, no complaints about unauthorized construction in the building were received from anyone by the building department, civil lines area, the statement said.
The building was located opposite the old Robin Cinema in the Malka Ganj neighborhood of the Northern Society Civil Lines area, and the entire neighborhood has small old buildings around 75 years old, officials said.
A pre-monsoon survey was conducted in the six areas of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in May-June to identify these structures and take corrective action.
“During this investigation, 699 properties or structures were found in an unsafe condition and 444 structures were identified as requiring necessary repairs,” said a senior NDMC official.
During the survey of the area of the civil lines, 89 properties were found to be dangerous.
All NDMC zonal authorities have already issued notices under Section 348 of the DMC Act to owners of all buildings, identified as unsafe, officials said.
According to the standard, once a structure is declared unsafe or unsafe, but if it is repairable, the owner is responsible for having it repaired. But if it is too dilapidated, civic authorities demolish it for public safety.
The mayor of North Delhi, Raja Iqbal Singh, former mayor Jai Prakash, municipal commissioner Goel and a few other officials also visited the site of the collapse to take stock of the situation.
“There are hundreds of old structures in the area, which are over 75 years old,” Goel said.
“A rescue and relief operation is underway and the debris is being cleared. We are trying to find out what caused the building to collapse,” Goel said earlier today.
The Civil Line Zone was established by the British in the early 20th century after the imperial capital was transferred from Calcutta to Delhi in 1912.
Recently, an old building in the Begumpura district of Delhi in the Narela area of NDMC, which was declared an unsafe structure by city officials, collapsed.
However, no one was injured in the incident.