Building collapse: Delhi govt, MCD passing the buck

A blame-game has begun between the Delhi government and MCD with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit directly putting the onus on the civic body for the building collapse in east Delhi and the BJP-ruled agency denying the charge.

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2010, 18:30 PM IST

New Delhi: As the tragedy unfolded, a
blame-game has begun between the Delhi government and MCD with
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit directly putting the onus on the
civic body for the building collapse in east Delhi and the
BJP-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 fitness of the
buildings. It is their responsibility to check whether a
building is fit for occupancy or not," Dikshit said.

Dikshit, promising stringent punishment against those
found guilty by the probe panel, also 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.

MCD Standing Committee chairman and BJP leader Yogender
Chandolia, however, sought to blame 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 during rains, could have weakened the foundation.

Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly VK Malhotra also
said it was 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 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 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.

PTI