New Delhi: The building department of South Corporation on Sunday demolished two buildings, which had started tilting into a neighbouring structure in Arjun Nagar near Safdarjung Enclave. The two buildings, one being four-storeyed and the other two-storeyed, are owned by a retired BSF officer, Tek Chand (65). The two decade old structures housed his joint family of 20.

Corporation officials also evacuated people out of six adjoining buildings to avoid a possible hazardous situation. The C-Block, where these buildings were located, is a hotbed of potential hazards like building collapses, fire and electrocutions. The narrow, meandering lanes have electric lines sagging so low that a child can reach out to them easily. Tilted electric poles on the verge of collapse support more lines than they were installed for. The narrow roads and in bad shape and difficult for fire tenders to reach.

Manish Pawar, one of Tek Chand’s sons, said the buildings first developed cracks in April during the Nepal earthquake. “There was a one inch gap, but we got it checked and thought everything was okay. After the Afghanistan quake, the buildings developed further cracks and we decided to vacate them. We left around 15 days ago. We’re really fortunate.”

Even his neighbour, Deepak Bariya, whose house the buildings tilted towards, thanked his good fortune. “Around 9am, when I was asleep, my mother asked my wife, son and me to run. I found the neighbour’s house leaning into ours and called 100,” he said.

When the corporation control room got the call from the police, executive engineer Saminder Nagi went to the spot. “These buildings are very old. Even upon inspection it is hard to tell what the situation is inside. Also, every house can’t be inspect from inside. As a precautionary measure we have evacuated the nearby houses,” Nagi said.

Unlike North Corporation, the South Corporation does not have a dangerous buildings cell. Its joint engineers have at least five wards under them and also have other responsibilities like checking illegal hoardings, desilting of nallahs, apart from inspecting and identifying dangerous buildings and issuing notices.

Ashish Sood, Leader of the House, told TOI on Sunday that North Corporation set up the cell as it has the Walled City under its jurisdiction. “Now that such cases have sprung up in our area, we will look into setting up a dangerous building cell here too,” he said.

The Vishnu Garden building collapse in July this year, which left five dead and 15 injured, put the spotlight back on the efficiency of building checks and illegal constructions in the city.

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Source: TOI-Delhi