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Saturday, September 18, 2021

For MCD, a familiar script: Tragedy but no accountability

In Malka Ganj ward, where the building that collapsed on Monday is located, 20 properties were identified as dangerous — including 9 on the same road.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: September 14, 2021 9:02:00 am
The incident took place in Sabzi Mandi, Monday. An elderly man was injured as well. (Photo: Abhinav Saha)

A survey of dangerous buildings was carried out by the North MCD before the monsoon, in which 699 buildings were found to be dangerous, including 444 in need of repair, it is learnt.

In Malka Ganj ward, where the building that collapsed on Monday is located, 20 properties were identified as dangerous — including 9 on the same road. The building that collapsed, though, was not on the list. “No complaint regarding any unauthorised construction in the said building was received from any source in the Building Department, Civil Lines Zone,” said the civic body.

The collapse has yet again raised questions on if enough 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.

Leader of opposition in the North MCD, Vikas Goel, said despite such tragedies taking place in the past, nothing beyond an inquiry happens: “Even if you repair your bathroom, officials will come to know about it… but in cases where responsibility has to be taken, they say they are not aware such construction was happening. Until strict action is taken, this will not be fixed.”

The North MCD said the building was around 60 years old and the structure had three floors spread over 40-50 square yards. The ground floor, where construction was going on, had a sweets shop while the other floors were residential.

North MCD standing committee chairperson Jogi Ram Jain said, “I have seen several buildings in the area are in a dilapidated condition… Police could have informed us about such construction happening. We will conduct an inquiry to examine the role of our departments as well.”

Area councillor, AAP’s Guddi Devi, said the fault lies on both sides: “Officials should have detected this and stopped it. People should also follow guidelines by taking permission for repairs so they are assisted by officials.”

The civic body has ordered a survey of the area, to be conducted in 48 hours, especially of buildings identified as dangerous. “Buildings found at imminent risk after the survey will have to be vacated,” said a senior official. The North MCD also sought a report from the building department in seven days and action against officials if needed.

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