It’s a disaster in the making: 80% of the structures are illegal

New Delhi, July 03, 2017: Just two months ago, TOI had highlighted how several buildings constructed in violation of norms at Lalita Park and other parts of east Delhiwere posing a threat to the lives of residents. The east corporation had initiated a visual survey to identity decrepit buildings, but as the latest incident testified, the ground situation didn't change much.

"A multi-storeyed building, which was in a dilapidated condition, was demolished in the south zone after the visual survey," said Brajesh Singh, EDMC additional commissioner (finance). That said, no advisory or notice was issued following the survey even though 71 people were killed in a building collapse at Lalita Park as recently as 2010. TOI visited the area to find several buildings with visible cracks and concrete peeling off the walls.

Just 100 metres from the spot where tragedy had stuck seven years ago, this correspondent came across a five-storeyed building in utter disrepair. "In most of these buildings, owners don't reside. Poor migrant labourers, who do odd jobs for a living, stay on rent there. For their greed, the owners have put several lives at risk," said Sushil Kumar, secretary of Lalita Park RWA.

B S Vohra, president, East Delhi RWAs Joint Front, said additional floors had been added to many buildings. "Most houses, especially those close to the river bank, were constructed in violation of safety norms," he said. "The construction takes place under the watch of civic body officials and police. Why don't they take action?" Vohra asked.

An EDMC official said over 80% buildings had been constructed without building plan approval.

Standard building norms set by EDMC allow only first-floor construction on less than 32-yard plots, but most such buildings have more than three floors - the narrow base gives them a weak foundation. The civic body blames a huge shortage of staff in its building department for failure to act.

Bipin Bihari Singh, EDMC deputy mayor, said: "We will run a special campaign to inspect buildings. For the safety of the people, it is necessary that weak and dilapidated buildings are identified.”

Information Source: The Times of India

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