‘Redevelop structurally-damaged Signature View flats’

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‘Redevelop structurally-damaged Signature View flats’

Wednesday, 25 January 2023 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has been directed to redevelop the "structurally damaged" Signature View Apartments in Mukherjee Nagar area in north Delhi and proactively support thousands of residents who have been facing grave danger to life and property.

Taking serious note of lapses that resulted in the building becoming structurally unsafe in just about 10 years of its construction, Delhi Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has also ordered, “immediate initiation of Criminal proceedings under the relevant provisions/rules, against the contractors/builders/ construction agencies and a vigilance inquiry to identify all officers/ officials responsible for lapses/mis-conduct in the construction of said buildings within 15 days and initiation of subsequent criminal action against the defaulting officials accordingly.” Built in 2007–2009, the apartments in the complex were allotted to residents in 2011-2012 having 36 apartments ( 112 middle income group)  and 224 Higher Income Group), located in 12 towers.  

The project was completed in 2010. While allotting these apartments, DDA also collected Rs 20.80 crore from the allottees for providng maintenance for 30 years after allotment.

Shortly after, however, the flats started facing construction-related issues, forcing the residents to complain to the DDA. A 2021-2022 study conducted by IIT-Delhi at the behest of DDA found the building to be structurally unsafe.  The study also made a recommendation to "vacate and dismantle" the complex.

The Lt Governor’s secretariat also directed the DDA to ensure incorporation of mandatory clauses in its tender documents that in case of any eventuality of structural defects, due to poor construction/material comes to light, criminal action along with financial recovery shall be initiated against the developer or contractor.

In its noting dated January 23, the L-G Secretariat, has asked the DDA to draw up a redevelopment and rehabilitation plan for the complex, in consultation with the RWA. This, Raj Niwas official said, should serve as a message from LG to all officials and contractors that no laxity, misconduct or collusion will be tolerated and that the residents of the City were supreme.

“This is a case of gross negligence and apparent criminal misconduct putting at large in danger. Allottees demonstrated trust in DDA while buying these apartments. As a public organization, DDA must own the defects and take urgent remedial measures. If it is note safe for habitation.

DDA must own the responsibility for providing feasible alternatives to the allottee and take strictest action against the responsible entity,” Raj Niwas secretariat said in its file noting. The LG over ruled the DDA that was inter alia, shirking its responsibility by maintaining on file that, “These allotments are not part of Social Welfare Schemes; that there is no law which makes DDA responsible for building in perpetuity, or even in the period in question or it is not the duty of DDA to maintain the buildings.”

He has said, that, “apparently, there has been no application of mind on the part of Legal Deptt of DDA and the position taken by the DDA, not only runs contrary to the very basic tenet of responsibility and empathy, essentially inherent in the functioning of any service provider - especially so, a Govt organisation, but also runs in contravention of principle of natural justice, since, the DDA had charged the consumer in the name of “Maintenance Charges for 30 years.”

Built in 2007–2009, the apartments in the complex were allotted to residents in 2011-2012 having 36 apartments ( 112 middle income group)  and 224 Higher Income Group), located in 12 towers.   The project was completed in 2010.

Shortly after, however, the flats started facing construction-related issues, forcing the residents to complain to the DDA. A 2021-2022 study conducted by IIT-Delhi at the behest of DDA found the building to be structurally unsafe.  The study also made a recommendation to "vacate and dismantle" the complex.

The residents of Signature View Apartments hailed the LG for ordering the DDA to redevelop the entire apartment complex and rehabilitate the residents in the interim.

 “We are hopeful that the officials of the DDA will show efficiency and empathy in following the orders of the honorable LG and will pay heed to the monetary as well as emotional loss that the residents of Signature View Apartments may end up incurring during the execution of said redevelopment,” residents said in a press statement.

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