Frequent earthquakes in Delhi: URJA offers support to monitor implementation of structural safety

New Delhi, Jul 1 (PTI) URJA, an umbrella body of resident welfare organisations in the city, on Wednesday wrote to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, offering its support to help monitor the implementation of structural safety norms in the national capital.

The letter from United Residents Joint Action (URJA) came in the wake of several low-intensity earthquakes jolting the city over the last two months 'URJA offers its services to help monitor the implementation of structural safety norms in place by engaging professional engineers, architects and town planners,' it said in the letter to the LG, who heads the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.

URJA president Atul Goyal said Delhi falls in seismic zone IV - a very high-risk zone.

India is divided into four seismic zones — II, III, IV and V -- according to increasing intensity and frequency of earthquakes.  'More than 60 percent of Delhi's population lives in under-developed colonies, JJ clusters and slums. Even the old neighbourhood areas -- Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Shahdara, Najafgarh, Mehrauli -- are prone to earthquakes,' Goyal said.

If a magnitude 6 earthquake strikes Delhi, most of the structures not complying with the structural safety norms will get demolished, leading to huge loss of life, URJA, which represents around 2,500 RWAs, said.  The building department of municipal corporations which was supposed to monitor the implementation of the structural safety norms is visible only when the court intervenes, Goyal alleged.

'The Directorate of Urban Local Bodies working under the Delhi government also failed to monitor structural safety plans as mandated under the Master Plan for Delhi - 2021,' he claimed.

The URJA president said the cash-starved municipal corporations cannot deliver on its promises with 'crippled internal support'.

'We suggest adopting some futuristic ideas to overcome the problem and multiplying working hands by engaging with the RWAs in a structured manner at the ward level,' he said.  PTI GVS AQS AQS