Earthquakes: Delhi HC quizzes civic bodies, DDA on steps taken for buildings in need of seismic stability

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Published: July 29, 2020 4:49 PM

The municipal corporations, meanwhile, have filed similar additional affidavits stating that between the three of them they have employed 144 structural engineers to audit the stability of buildings under their jurisdiction.

The direction came in view of an application moved by the petitioner-advocate, Arpit Bhargava, seeking setting up of a monitoring committee to ensure timely implementation of the action plan for strengthening buildings in Delhi.

The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the municipal bodies here and the DDA as to what steps they have taken after identifying and issuing notices to the high risk buildings in need of seismic stability. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan directed the municipal bodies and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to place before the court a report indicating steps taken by them after issuing notices to the owners of structures which require seismic stability.

“You have to show us the progress,” the court said to the authorities and listed the matter for hearing on August 31.
A direction was also issued to the Delhi government to inform the court whether any expert committee has been set up, as proposed by a notification of April last year, to look into seismic stability of the buildings in the national capital.

The direction came in view of an application moved by the petitioner-advocate, Arpit Bhargava, seeking setting up of a monitoring committee to ensure timely implementation of the action plan for strengthening buildings in Delhi.
Bhargava, in his application, has said that such a monitoring committee to supervise the authorities was necessary as they require constant”prodding” to make them work.

He said that between April 12 and July 3, 14 earthquakes have struck the Delhi-National Capital Region.
He also said that since the Centre has not filed any response or affidavit regarding steps taken by it, there is no clarity whether buildings like Vigyan Bhawan, Shastri Bhawan and others where high ranking officials work are seismically compliant or not.

The municipal corporations, meanwhile, have filed similar additional affidavits stating that between the three of them they have employed 144 structural engineers to audit the stability of buildings under their jurisdiction. On June 18 the high court had pulled up the Delhi government and all the local authorities for non-implementation of the action plans for ensuring seismic stability of buildings in the national capital.

Bhargava, in an earlier application, claimed that the authorities and Delhi government have not done anything despite several directions by the court to develop an action plan. The application was filed in Bhargava’s main petition filed in 2015 claiming that the seismic stability of buildings in Delhi was poor and in case of a major earthquake there could be large numbers 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 the earlier application, Bhargava contended that around 11 earthquakes have struck Delhi since April 12 and according to experts a big one was imminent which is why he has moved the court now for urgent directions.

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