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Delhi building collapse: Delhi govt, MCD pass the buck

November 16, 2010 18:38 IST
As the tragedy of the building collapse in east Delhi unfolded, a blame-game has begun between the Delhi government and Municipal Corporation of Delhi, with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit directly putting the onus on the civic body for the accident and the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled agency denying the charge.

Holding MCD responsible for the incident, Dikshit said the builder should not have been allowed to construct floors beyond permissible level and the quality of the building should also have been examined.

"The MCD is the authority for checking the fitness of buildings. It is their responsibility to check whether a building is fit for occupancy or not," Dikshit said.

Promising stringent punishment against those found guilty by the probe panel, the Delhi CM blamed the builder for the tragedy, saying the offence amounts to "murder".

The Delhi government has already appointed a probe panel, which will submit its report within 10 days.

But the MCD passed the buck to the government. MCD standing committee chairman and BJP leader Yogender Chandolia blamed the Delhi government's flood and irrigation department over accumulation of water at the basement of the building that collapsed. It is suspected that the water, which got collected there during flooding of the Yamuna could have weakened the foundation.

Leader of the opposition in Delhi assembly V K Malhotra also said it was the responsibility of the Delhi government to ensure that Yamuna flood waters were channelled out. He also alleged the owner of the property is "closely linked to the ruling Congress party" and he has many other buildings in this area.

In an apparent effort to rebut the flak the MCD is getting, leader of the MCD House Subhash Arya said, "The whole area was unauthorised. There cannot be such a tall building there. When the colony was regularised we were not in power. The building was constructed 15 years ago. Who was responsible for allowing it should be seen by the Delhi government."

Several MCD officials and leaders, however, admitted that there were illegal constructions in the unauthorised regularised colony where the incident occurred. The colony was regularised in 1977. They also acknowledged the problem of rampant illegal construction in such colonies.

Leader of the ruling BJP and chairman of MCD works committee Jagdish Mamgain said the corporation should "take responsibility" over the "sad incident".

"We cannot pass the buck. The engineers who were responsible for allowing this illegal construction to go on should also be prosecuted along with the private builder. If we shrug off our responsibility, it will be double standards. We look into the maintenance of such colonies, our people should have looked into the illegality," he said.

Mamgain said he has long been raising the issue of alleged corruption in the MCD building department. "We should have honest officers in the building department, which attracts the largest number of allegations of graft and irregularities," he said.
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