Hearing a plea related to earthquake preparedness, on Thursday the city government told the Delhi High Court, that out of over 10,000 buildings identified for assessing structural safety, more than 6,000 have been asked to show structural safety certificates and 144 unsafe buildings demolished. While retrofitting is in progress in respect of 89, about 4655 buildings’ structural audits have been done, said the Delhi government.

The status report was filed by the state government before a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad which listed the matter for further hearing on February 16.

As per the reports shared by the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) of Delhi and other departments on the action taken in response to the high court’s earlier order,  total of 10203 buildings have been identified for assessing structural safety thus far, and notices have been issued in respect of 6192 of them, asking their owners to provide structural safety certificates or the specific or corrective action taken. 

The government said it has come to notice that the Delhi Cantonment Board, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi Municipal Council, and Public Works Department have not yet submitted the updated required information regarding the preparedness for an earthquake. The status report said that letters were issued to them in December seeking the requisite information. 

The Delhi government’s report was filed through standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi in a pending PIL by petitioner advocate Arpit Bhargava claiming the seismic stability of buildings in Delhi was poor and, in case of a major earthquake, there could be a large number of casualties. 

In July last year, the city government had informed the high court about the proposal to conduct a structural audit of high-rise buildings and those which are two decades older and witnessing large footfall on top priority in a time-bound manner to check preparedness for an earthquake.

The petition was filed in 2015 and the high court has periodically directed the Delhi government and civic authorities to develop an action plan. 

Bhargava filed a contempt petition in 2020, claiming the court’s earlier orders on making the national capital ready to face any major earthquake have not been complied with yet.

In December 2020, the high court sought responses of the AAP government, the DDA, and the three, municipal corporations to the plea seeking contempt action against them for allegedly not complying with judicial orders on ensuring the seismic stability of buildings in Delhi. 

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

Authorities received several directions from the court to survey whether buildings in Delhi were compliant with the norms of seismic stability, identify those non-compliant, take steps that are necessary, and develop an action plan.

“Despite serious intervention by the high court over a period of five years the authorities have shown little concern for larger public interest and did not move an inch to formulate and implement an action plan”, said Bhargava, seeking contempt action against the authorities in his plea. 

Follow and Connect with us: TwitterFacebookLinkedinInstagram