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Civic bodies,police to blame for Lalita Park collapse: Probe

The MCD,DDA and Delhi Police were in a position to act against an illegal building that later collapsed in Lalita Park,East Delhi,but none of the three departments did,a Delhi government inquiry has found.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 22, 2012 4:17 am

The MCD,DDA and Delhi Police were in a position to act against an illegal building that later collapsed in Lalita Park,East Delhi,but none of the three departments did,a Delhi government inquiry has found.

The building collapsed in November 2010,claiming 71 lives.

The report of the government-appointed Commission of Inquiry,headed by retired Justice Lokeshwar Prasad,states that floors were illegally added to the building on plot N-85 since 1988. These remained unchecked,said the report presented on Wednesday.

The institutional responsibility for the collapse,as per the report,lies on the MCD as it failed to detect the illegal construction,allowing compromises with structural safety.

The three MCD departments — Building,Property Tax and Factories Licensing — were responsible for checking various violations in the building,the report stated. Had any of these worked efficiently,the tragedy could have been averted,it said.

“It projects a glaring example of administrative inefficiency,lack of supervision,lack of coordination and utter failure of the system as such,” the report said.

It added that MCD suspended junior officials for the lapses,but took no action against senior officials,including chief engineers.

The report blames the DDA for not fulfilling its statutory duty of ensuring that the building,which was in violation of the Delhi Master Plan and Delhi Development Act,did not come up.

“The DDA has the power not only to stop the (illegal) ‘development’ but also to order demolition of any building (that violates these provisions),” the report read.

All DDA officials who were in positions to mandate checks against illegal construction in the building,over the last 30 years,are responsible for the tragedy,said the report.

As these two agencies failed to flag the violations,the Delhi Police should have detected the wrongdoings,the report said.

The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act requires policemen to identify all violations of construction laws to enable suitable action,possibly enforcement of criminal proceedings.

The report hints this oversight may have been deliberate. “It cannot be reasonably believed that for such long years,all such activities against law had escaped the attention of the concerned police functionaries,” it stated.

Fire department and power supplier BSES Yamuna were also held responsible for failing to red-flag the illegal construction in the building.

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