Two days after another case of ceiling collapse was reported in Connaught Place, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) Monday suspended four engineers of its Enforcement Building Regulation Department in relation to the incident.
“An executive engineer, one assistant engineer and two junior engineers of the Department of Enforcement Building Regulation have been suspended,” NDMC chairperson Naresh Kumar told The Indian Express. The department’s primary responsibilities are enforcement of building regulations, checking violations, and issuing notices in cases of violation. They are also required to carry out inspections in the area. The four engineers who have been suspended were responsible for Connaught Place.
In addition to the suspension, the Council has also formed teams to carry out inspection of CP area in the aftermath of two ceiling collapse incidents.
“Teams have been formed to carry out visual inspection and check the status of rooftops,” Kumar said. While inspection in CP started on Monday, this exercise is likely to be extended to Khan Market and other NDMC areas which have old buildings, officials said.
“Inspection teams will be given different roles. Some will look at the permissions that restaurants and bars in the area have been given and if there are any violations. Some teams will look at fire safety while others will look at buildings and their condition,” a senior NDMC official said.
Around 9.30 pm on Saturday, the ceiling of Odeon Sweets at L block in Connaught Place’s middle circle had collapsed. While the ground floor of that property was empty, no injuries were reported as the roof of the adjoining restaurant, Unplugged Courtyard, had been sealed earlier by the NDMC. On February 2, a large portion of Connaught Place’s C block had caved-in.
Following the first incident of ceiling collapse in CP, the NDMC had constituted a six-member expert committee which includes structural safety experts from IIT Delhi and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate from the area. “The committee’s report is expected to be submitted to the NDMC within 21 days,” Kumar said.
Moreover, a case was registered against unknown persons under IPC Section 336 (act endagering life or personal safety of others) at Connaught Place police station with regard to the case.
“We are trying to ascertain who initiated construction work at the site of the ceiling collapse. For this, we have approached the NDMC and are looking into lease documents for that property,” Braj Kishore Singh, DCP (New Delhi) said.