Panic broke out in South Delhi’s Munirka early Thursday morning after a six-storey building tilted, following which 45 of its residents and 100 people living in houses nearby were evacuated.
Police said they were informed about the incident at 5.30 am and that teams from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the National Disaster Response Force, along with the sub-divisional magistrate, are at the spot.
According to a senior official of the South MCD, the building, which is opposite the JNU campus, violates civic body rules as no house above 15 metres is allowed to be constructed. He said the building is older than 15 years and that two floors were added five-six years ago, without seeking permission.
“It tilted by half an inch in the morning; by afternoon it tilted eight inches… it seems stable for now,” said the official, adding that several other buildings in the village violate the height rules.
Police have identified the building owner and said a case will soon be registered against him.
The South Corporation is responsible for checking height violations and identifying dangerous buildings in its jurisdiction.
South Delhi Mayor Sunita Kangra said the building was declared dangerous but people were not ready to vacate it.
“It is only after it tilted that the building was vacated. The corporation is keeping watch and it will be demolished soon,” she said.
According to the official, the houses in the village are on a hillock, which makes the area even more dangerous as the base is not uniform or flat like other areas in Delhi.
He also said violations mostly go unchecked as villagers don’t allow officials to investigate the houses and due to the nexus between civic body officials, politicians and house owners. “When zonal officials take action, politicians question them,” he said.
Another official said it was difficult to identify the building as an illegal structure as there were no cracks. “Prime facie, it appears to have tilted because of seepage in the foundation,” he said.
“For us, lives are more important than anyone’s belongings. We cannot allow anyone to enter the building. Once it is strengthened and partially demolished, then a decision will be taken on whether people can enter the flats and take their belongings,” said the official.
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