NEW DELHI: The residents of Delhi Development Authority Janta Flats in Paschim Vihar have been issued notices by North Delhi Municipal Corporation stating that the buildings they are living in are in a dangerous condition and need urgent repairs. The notices further state that either retrofitting should be carried out or the buildings should be demolished.

However, the residents complained that a few flats owned by government departments on the ground floor were lying vacant for the past 20 years and they were being indirectly penalised.

Subarno Mukherjee, who purchased his flat around four years ago, said DDA originally allotted the properties around 32 years ago. “There are 30 flats in this row out of which 16 are occupied and 14 have been lying vacant from a long time. These empty flats on the ground floor are owned by government departments. A dispensary used to run from these premises. No maintenance was done and we are indirectly being held responsible for properties that do not belong to us,” he added.

The notices were issued in the first half of June. “Our flats are repaired regularly. The pillars of the buildings are on the ground floor. We are being asked to carry out a structural audit. Even if we agree to help in the repairs, how can we break into the locked flats?” asked Mukherjee.

One such notice issued by an assistant engineer mentioned that the buildings could be hazardous for residents as well as passersby and the owners should either demolish or retrofit the structures in the next 15 days. “Please note that if the directions are not acted upon in this time period, then as per the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, we will act without any warning,” it added.

Rajinder Pal, another resident, said they received a notice on June 12. They gave a representation that they were carrying out repairs at regular intervals. “We have been asking the municipal engineers about the owners of the locked flats on the ground floor, but have received no replies. A Delhi government dispensary used to be run from this place. How do we get the structure of these flats checked? How is it our responsibility?” he asked.

A senior municipal official said that dangerous buildings were identified during the annual surveys so that there was no damage to property or risk to the lives of people living there.

“Structural safety audits are being sought on the orders of the Delhi high court with regard to earthquakes and seismic stability of high-risk buildings,” added the official.

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