Capital of illegal structures

  It is also the 15th such incident in the Capital in the last five years.
Most of these structures are in old residential areas of Delhi. These “urban villages” do not follow the rules laid down by municipal administration authorities for building either commercial complexes or houses.

The owners of buildings in these areas keep adding floors to the structure, feeling no need to adopt any official guidelines or regulation. And over a period of time, they also manage to get the structures regularised by the Municipal Council of Delhi (MCD).
The building that collapsed on Monday was probably regularised thus, as it is located in an unauthorised colony.

The owner of the building, who is now on the run, kept adding floors to the building. He ran an ice cream factory at the basement of the building and most of the victims of Monday’s tragedy were employees of the factory.

Blame game

But the tragedy in itself has not yet opened the eyes of the authorities to the problem of illegal structures. A blame game ensued between the Delhi government and the MCD with each holding the other guilty for the mishap.

Delhi Chief Minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, while ordering a probe, blamed the BJP-led MCD for issuing a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the building. According to Dikshit, it was a clear “case of negligence”, as water, accumulated in the building’s basement for over two months, was not removed.

The MCD, meanwhile, passed the buck back to the Delhi government. “The Delhi flood irrigation department was responsible for checking stagnant water, and the MCD has little to do with it.” Yoginder Chandolia, chairperson of the Standing Committee of MCD, said.

“Instead of blaming municipal authorities, let the Delhi government ask the Delhi police to arrest the landlord who kept adding more floors. There were over a hundred people staying in the building that was around 15 years old. The MCD did not know it was going to collapse,” Chandolia said.

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