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Over 200 Delhi buildings on verge of collapse

Rampant flouting of construction norms comes under scrutiny after building collapse kills 7 in Old Delhi
Delhi building collapse 1Enlarge
An injured Indian man (C) reacts in pain as he is carried to an ambulance following a building collapse in the old quarters of New Delhi on September 27, 2011. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 200 buildings in Delhi could collapse at anytime, thanks to rampant flouting of construction codes, reports the Hindustan Times.

Meanwhile, not only is the Municipal Corporation turning a blind eye to the problem, when city officials did bother to raise the alarm prior to the collapse of a building that killed 7 people in Chandni Mahal this week, nobody followed through to make sure the owner corrected the problems or residents were evacuated, according to the Times of India.

Officials in both agencies confirmed to the TOI that MCD had warned the building's owner and contractor, and also alerted the police, on September 16 while police officials had visited the spot on September 25 - two days before the crash - to ask them to stop construction.

Too little, too late -- On Wednesday, Delhi Police registered a case of culpable homicide against Anil Kumar, the owner of the building where construction was going on, and Haji Jalaluddin, his contractor, the TOI said.

Meanwhile, according to the HT, the MCD's "dangerous building cell," which is supposed to identify dilapidated buildings in Old Delhi, has been "out of action" as the city government has not bothered to fill vacant staff positions. “A ‘dangerous building cell’ was constituted by the MCD commissioner in 2009 but till date apart from an assistant engineer, no one else has been hired,” the paper quoted a senior MCD official as saying.

As per a survey undertaken three years back, the city zone has 200 buildings that require immediate repair work and there are 70 more in Sadar Paharganj zone, the HT said.

MCD officials said there were over 70 hazardous buildings in Old Delhi that were more than 100-years-old. Of these 38 have been labelled as most dangerous including 5347, Kucha Rehman, Chandni Chowk, and 3231, Lal Darwaza, Sita Ram Bazaar, the HT said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/over-200-delhi-buildings-verge-collapse