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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Delhi: Part of school wall collapses on cars, owners complain

“The wall collapsed, allegedly due to rain. An FIR under IPC section 427 (mischief causing damage) has been filed after a complaint was received by owners whose vehicles were damaged. The matter is being investigated.”

Written by Ananya Tiwari , Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: August 20, 2020 2:37:37 am
At Saket J Block, Wednesday. Seven cars were damaged in the wall collapse. Tashi Tobgyal

Seven cars in Saket’s J Block were damaged when a portion of the Apeejay School wall fell on them, ostensibly due to heavy rain, early Wednesday morning.

Alleging negligence by school authorities and demanding compensation for their losses, the car owners filed a police complaint. DCP (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said, “The wall collapsed, allegedly due to rain. An FIR under IPC section 427 (mischief causing damage) has been filed after a complaint was received by owners whose vehicles were damaged. The matter is being investigated.”

The school management denied the allegations. “We have constructed the walls as per government directive for Delhi schools. After the 9/11 attack in the US, the government thought it is better to raise the boundary of schools with barbed wires so miscreants and terrorists don’t enter. We’re investigating but there is no issue as such,” said a school official, adding that the incident was caused as it “has been raining for the past three days”.

The seven cars damaged were a MG Hector, Toyota Etios, Honda City, Maruti Swift Dzire, Toyota Innova Crysta, Renault Kwid and Hyundai Santro. They were parked close to the wall, with a drain separating them. On the other side of the wall is a basketball court and a tennis court.

The windshields and bonnets were crushed, and tyres punctured due to the weight of the concrete.

The owners, who found out about the incident between 6.30-7.30 am, claimed the wall was of a poor quality.

Ashok Chawla (65), a businessman, was particularly unlucky as two of his three cars – Innova Crysta and Santro – were damaged. “They are almost completely crushed; I don’t think there is any possibility of repair. While I had insurance for Crysta which I bought last year, there was no insurance for the other car,” he said.

The newest car belonged to Prashant Agnihotri (50) who works in an advertising company. His Kwid, bought just six months ago, was smashed. However, he has insurance: “We will fight for compensation from the school. They have been constructing on top without any support elements. The wall, grill and even the barbed wire collapsed.”

Kunal Bhandari (44) bought his MG Hector last year for Rs 19 lakh. “The school authorities are responsible for this. Today the wall collapsed towards the cars; if it had collapsed towards the basketball court when students were present, there could have been human losses,” he claimed.

K P Satyanandan (60), whose Etios was damaged, also said the school was “fully” responsible and that they demanded compensation.

Sandeep Kumar (36), a mechanical engineer who owns the Swift Dzire, claimed, “Initially, the wall height was 6 feet. In the last two years or so, the construction was such that it has become a 12-feet-high wall with barbed wires…”

Manoj Goyal (42), a secretary at a private company, said his car was damaged entirely: “The height and the load of the wall suggests something was wrong with the foundation.”

But the Residents’ Welfare Association president Rajan Malik said owners are at fault as well. “I have told residents many times not to park near the wall, but they refuse to listen. With heavy rain, walls can collapse; the school can’t be blamed.”

 

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