The North Delhi Municipal Corporation on Thursday suspended two engineers posted in the maintenance department (Keshav Puram zone) and removed another who was hired on contractual basis for lapses in identifying the “dangerous” building that collapsed on Wednesday.
At least seven people — four children, two women and a man — died, while five were injured when a five-storey residential building collapsed in northwest Delhi’s Ashok Vihar. Police claimed that the building was in a dilapidated condition and was already “tilting” to one side.
North civic body Mayor Adesh Gupta said, “A junior engineer (civil), who was working on contractual basis, has been removed, while the assistant engineer and executive engineer of the maintenance department of Keshav Puram zone have been suspended.”
A senior official said that the action was taken after a survey was recently undertaken by the North civic body to identify “dangerous buildings”, and that officials of the maintenance department had even inspected the building around 20 days before the incident. However, they failed to include it in the list or take necessary action, including demolition or vacating the building, the official added.
The North civic body has also ordered a fresh survey of the buildings under its jurisdiction, and said that any building found to be “dangerous” will be sealed.
Vikas Goel, member of the standing committee, said that the North Corporation has let off the building department, and made maintenance department an “easy target”. He said that the building in Ashok Vihar was constructed within 20-25 square yards, but the officials never raised the matter. “How did the building come up in the first place, and the floors erected later?” asked Goel.
ALSO READ | Old complaint said structure about to fall
According to MCD rules, maps for buildings that are less than 106 square yards do not need approval, instead a self-declaration of ownership and layout plan of the building have to be submitted; while the junior engineers and assistant engineers concerned have to check out for any violation of the plan.
Mayor Gupta further said that a detailed inquiry in the case is pending, adding that anyone found guilty would be punished severely. On Thursday, the police handed over the bodies of the victims to their family members after the postmortem examination.