'Zero tolerance zone'... really? Dwarka's DDA pockets say otherwise

By Akhilesh Pandey
Photo: Akhilesh Pandey
Posted: Feb 08, 2018

Despite Supreme Court taking serious note of illegal construction, such activities continue to flourish, and Dwarka, deemed a planned city, is no exception.  

Such construction is most rampant in DDA pockets across the sub-city — commonly seen in MIG flats, LIG Flats and Janta Flats. Construction of extra rooms, removal of main beam to make way for more rooms, construction of extra floors are well-known violations of DDA bylaws, but authorities have decided to look the other way.  

SK Sharma, a resident of Sector 14, said, “This trend is dangerous and buildings are getting weaker. Mostly unskilled labourers are engaged in such activities, and DDA and MCD seem to have no handle over the situation.”

Now, all DDA pockets are under the Municipal Corporation — earlier they were under the DDA.


A classic example of building bylaw violation


“Dwarka is a zero-tolerance zone for illegal construction, but residents are doing so without fear. I have written to all the higher authorities, including the LG. The enforcement and building departments are responsible for what’s happening to our Dwarka. I have been writing against this for years, but nobody is willing to work honestly,” RTI activist Ramesh Mumukshu emphasised.

He shared further, “I have also said that before taking action against people, take action against those officials who are, or were, responsible for the violations.”

Encroachment of fire-safety area and open space is common. “If there’s a disaster — a fire or an earthquake — we have no open space on the premises. Where will people take shelter? The authorities are politically motivated and will take no action against the culprits,” complained Mahesh Yadav, a resident of Sector 12.

President of Dwarka Forum, Rejimon CK, said to City Spidey , “I have been writing the subject on social media forums and also to the DDA and MCD officials. The laws should be the same as those that exist in CGHS — no one can do any construction without permission and beyond permissible design.”

Dwarka falls under sensitive seismic zone, and thus, altering building structures could be fatal in case of any eventuality. Civil engineer and expert in building construction, Gautam Kumar, explained, “Delhi in particular is a seismically active region. As witnessed in Nepal and other parts of India, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake ended up killing thousands of people and the fatality was majorly due to unsafe buildings. In Dwarka, the forced alterations are dangerous, as they are dislocating the loads and making the structure weak.”

He further added, “In Dwarka, most of illegal construction are not based on engineering principles and are simple masonry work — the connections between the roof and the walls, between cross-walls are weak, making buildings vulnerable to collapse. The structural instability is multiplied by removal of main beams to make way for extra floors.”

When City Spidey got in touch with Mayor of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Kamaljeet Sehrawat, she said, “Nothing beyond laws is acceptable. We'll take strict action against such construction.”

TAGS: Dwarka / Seismic Zone / Illegal Construction / SDMC / Kamaljeet Sehrawat / Extra Rooms / Sector 14 / DDA