The Delhi government Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that an action plan has been prepared to ensure seismic stability of buildings in the national capital in which structural safety audit of government and private buildings will be conducted in a phased manner.
The AAP government said top priority will be accorded to the buildings, including hospitals, institutional buildings, schools and colleges, which have been found unsafe for habitation during the annual pre-monsoon survey and action will be taken on it.
It said the structural safety audit of private buildings falling in a high-risk matrix with maximum public use will be accorded as top priority.
“Accordingly, all private hospitals, shopping complexes, malls, school/ colleges and cinema halls, etc, where public congregation is maximum, shall be taken up in the first instance,” it said.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh granted time to petitioner lawyer Arpit Bhargava to respond to the government’s affidavit and listed the matter for further hearing on April 13.
The government’s affidavit was filed in a pending PIL by Mr Bhargava claiming that the seismic stability of buildings in Delhi was poor and in case of a major earthquake there could be a large number of casualties.
“Being private buildings, the owners shall be asked to get the structural safety audit done themselves and submit the report to the concerned local body,” the affidavit filed through additional standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi said.
It added that in case, the building is found deficient in the structural evaluation report, the owner will be bound to carry out the upgrading of the seismic resistance of the buildings as per applicable standard guidelines and submit to local bodies the time frame within which they propose to carry out the requisite strengthening/ retrofitting.
In the second phase, the buildings coming under the lower risk matrix and those falling the jurisdiction of unauthorized/ unauthorized-regularised/ village abadis/ re-settlement colonies shall be taken up and the methodology would be the same, the affidavit said.
“In regards to the structural audit of old buildings and in order to ensure that the structures remain in good structural health, compulsory structural audit of private buildings more than 30 years old by the qualified empanelled structural engineers and submission of structural fitness certificate from them by the owners/ occupiers; on the lines of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai be made mandatory,” it said.
The municipal authorities also informed that a number of structural engineers have been empanelled on behalf of corporations for carrying out structural audit of the buildings and giving suggestions for retrofitting.
The petition was filed in 2015 in which the high court, from time to time, has directed the Delhi government and civic authorities to develop an action plan.