Around 1,800 people residing at Delhi's posh Signature View Apartment complex in Mukherjee Nagar who are feeling hassled after the structurally damaged buildings have been ordered to be redeveloped in view of threat to their life and property have blamed the negligence of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for the current situation.
Delhi Lt. Governor V.K. Saxena has ordered the DDA to redevelop Signature View Apartments, and rehabilitate them in the interim.
Taking serious note of lapses that resulted in the building becoming structurally unsafe in a few years of its construction, he also ordered "immediate initiation of criminal proceedings under the relevant rules against the contractors and the agencies and a vigilance inquiry to identify all officials responsible for lapses in the construction of said buildings within 15 days and initiation of subsequent criminal action against the defaulting officials accordingly".
The Signature View Apartment Complex, built during 2007-2009, was allotted to the residents in 2011-2012. Soon thereafter, the flats in the complex had started facing construction related issues, forcing the residents to complain about these to the DDA.
The first possession was given in 2012. However, it took many years later for the apartments in the complex to be fully occupied. The last possession was given in 2019.
It needs to be underlined that within a year of the first possession, several construction-related issues, including falling off the roof plaster among others, began appearing.
Talking to IANS, Resident Welfare Association (RWA) member Bhupendra Choudhary said that the issues had appeared for the first time in 2013.
The outer wall had started falling, leading to the damage to many cars. Later, the DDA tried to address the problem by applying a simple plaster on the wall in 2016, he said.
However, issues such as falling of plaster, cracks in walls, pillars and roofs continued to develop.
"Again, we complained to the DDA and the Delhi L-G. We had even met the engineers of the DDA. Taking cognizance of our complaint, they engaged the National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCBM) for technical testing of the materials used in society.
"The NCBM committee suggested immediate repairs and extensive technical testing," he said.
He claimed that for almost three years, the DDA did not take any action on the NCBM recommendation.
Meanwhile, the RWA continued registering complaints on many forums.
Eventually, according to Choudhary, for the first time in 2021, the DDA engaged a structural expert and IIT Professor Shashank Bishnoi as a consultant who surveyed the society.
He also recommended that "there needs to be a wide and extensive technical survey of the entire society".
Later, under his leadership, the DDA engaged Sri Ram Institute of Industrial Research to do the extensive technical testing. The team collected around 182 samples and submitted the report on November 11, 2022.
Choudhary further said that the committee had made clear recommendations in its report that society was unsafe and people immediately should be evicted and buildings demolished.
He said that the report highlighted two issues -- high content of chloride beyond the recommended level and substandard use of material.
"However, the DDA did not take any action even after the recommendation and did not even share the report with the residents. Later, we filed two RTIs which also did not provide any satisfactory reply. Finally, after filing the third RTI, a report was shared on January 8... and then, we presented the Delhi L-G and the DDA vice chairman the report," Choudhary said.
The RWA member further said: "We have made four demands. The first is to redevelop society and allot among residents in the current form with basement parking. Secondly, the DDA must pay rent from the day of eviction to re-allotment as per market price, thirdly, pay for interior work and lastly, arrange for our shifting. However, after Lt. Governor has intervened in the matter, the DDA has called a meeting with RWA on January 30," he said.
The L-G had ordered DDA on January 24 to re-develop the structurally damaged Signature View Apartments in North Delhi. The DDA may submit the recommendation after meeting the RWA members to L-G V.K. Saxena on January 31.
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