The North Delhi Municipal Corporation has given itself a clean chit in the Sabzi Mandi building collapse incident that left two dead earlier this month.
Two siblings died after a three-storey building collapsed in North Delhi’s Sabzi Mandi area. North MCD had then said that the ongoing construction in the building, which had led to collapse, was illegal.
As per sources, a report prepared by the corporation’s building headquarters says that it has been found that because the building was not in a dilapidated state and no one had complained about it, there has been no negligence on behalf of the corporation.
The commissioner of North MCD Sanjay Goel had ordered an inquiry into the incident to be conducted by the building department (headquarters) and said that necessary action against delinquent officials, if any, will be taken after receipt of the report.
“It had come to light that on Sunday night the person started drilling and around 11 the building collapsed. In between, there was no complaint given to MCD or in the police. Our employees were not given any intimation. Had they known about it or were informed and no action was taken, then there would have been action against them,” he said.
He, however, said that the political wing would discuss it with others and explore the possibility of re-examining the case and if anyone is found guilty then there would be action.
The leader of opposition in North MCD Vikas Goel said, “what more do you expect in an investigation report prepared by MCD officials to investigate the role of their own department officers.”
“The whole drama is created just to pacify people for the time being and then to cover up the whole thing,” he said.
In Malka Ganj ward, where the building that collapsed is located, 20 properties were identified as dangerous — including nine on the same road, in the survey conducted before the monsoon. The building that collapsed, though, was not on the list.
Later another survey was done after house collapse in which around 18 buildings were identified as either needing to be demolished or requiring major retrofitting for providing structural stability in the same ward.
The collapse has yet again raised questions about what is being done by the building department of MCDs — councillors from BJP, AAP and Congress have often been critical of it during House meetings in the past. The councillors have often said that while the officials get immediate information whenever any fresh construction starts, there is no accountability.
In October 2018, when a building collapsed in north Delhi’s Ashok Vihar, which claimed seven lives, it was deemed a natural calamity. “There was continuous rainfall in Delhi during those days, eyewitnesses have said the tragedy took place due to the fall of a big dry tree and is like a natural disaster,” The north civic body had said in reply to questions asked by the leader of the opposition on factors.