Complying with quake stability orders of court, Delhi govt, municipal bodies tell HC

·3-min read

New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) The municipal bodies have told the Delhi High Court that they are complying with the judicial orders and the AAP government's notifications on ensuring seismic stability of buildings in the city.

The submission by the three municipal corporations and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) came in response to a plea seeking contempt action against them, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for allegedly not complying with courts orders to make the national capital ready to face any major earthquake.

The North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations in their responses to the contempt petition, by advocate Arpit Bhargava, have contended that public notices were issued to the general public to get their buildings structurally audited by registered structural engineers.

In their almost similar affidavits, the corporations have further said that notices have been issued to all high risk buildings to submit structural audit reports and on non-compliance of the same 'notices have been issued for disconnection of electricity and water connections' and letters have been sent to the Sub-Registrars for not registering such buildings.

Besides, retro-fitting, structural strengthening and reconstruction were being carried out for private and municipal buildings which were not seismically stable according to the structural audit reports.

'To sensitize the Resident Welfare and Traders Associations, regular interaction programmes are being organized to make aware the public regarding the structural audit of their buildings and to make them safe from structural point of view. For guiding the general public, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for structural audit has been prepared and posted on the MCD website,' the three corporations have said in their affidavits.

The NDMC, in its affidavit filed through advocates Anil Grover and Tushar Sannu, have told the court that Delhi is in seismic zone IV, and all the buildings owned by the council and constructed after 2005 or being constructed are in accordance with the requisitions.

It has further said that the Delhi government's plan for making buildings seismically stable have also been adopted by the NDMC and it was in the 'process of making all the buildings under its jurisdiction seismic compliant'.

The contempt petition was filed by Bhargava who has claimed that the high court's earlier orders to make the buildings seismically stable have not been complied with by the authorities.

The high court's earlier orders had come on Bhargava's PIL filed in 2015 claiming that the seismic stability of buildings in Delhi was poor and in case of a major earthquake there could be a large number of casualties.

The petition is still pending before the high court which from time to time has directed the Delhi government and civic authorities to develop an action plan.

In a status report filed in response to the PIL, the Delhi government has said that a meeting was held by the Chief Secretary with representatives of the NDMC and the three corporations on January 20, 2021 and the local bodies were directed to continue on a 'war footing' their work regarding identification of private and government buildings which need a structural audit.

The Chief Secretary also directed the local bodies to initiate action against the government buildings and religious places which have not replied to notices, the Delhi government status report has said.

In June 2020, after 11 minor tremors struck Delhi in a matter of days from April 12, 2020, Bhargava moved an application seeking setting up of a monitoring committee to ensure timely implementation of the action plan for strengthening buildings in Delhi. PTI HMP SA