New Delhi: The Delhi High Court was on Wednesday informed by a municipal corporation that about 80 percent of buildings in the capital were "structurally unsafe" towards earthquakes. The corporation said that only about 20 percent of buildings had the requisite sanctions under the building laws.
A division of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva questioned the "dereliction of duty" on the municipal corporation's part in allowing buildings to come up without complying with the regulation meant to keep them structurally safe.
The bench said if an earthquake like the one in Nepal occurs here, "the casualties would not be in thousands but in lakhs". Delhi with a population of over 1.6 crore falls in seismic zone IV, a high damage risk zone which can expect the second highest level of earthquakes.
The court, hearing a petition filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava seeking direction to immediately determine seismic stability of buildings here, issued notice to the Delhi government and municipal bodies seeking their responses by May 20.
It directed civic authorities to indicate in their affidavits, whether buildings in the city were complying with the structural stability norms prescribed in the National Building Code for seismic zone IV. The bench also observed that in areas like Karol Bagh, majority of the buildings have been constructed in violation of norms. It enquired how "every building in Karol Bagh has more than six floors".
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