Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena Tuesday ordered the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to redevelop the Signature View Apartments complex at North Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar and rehabilitate the residents in the interim as the complex is structurally damaged.
Saxena, L-G House officials said, has taken “serious note” of lapses that resulted in the building becoming structurally unsafe in just about 10 years of its construction. He also ordered the immediate initiation of criminal proceedings against the contractors, builders or construction agencies involved.
The L-G ordered a vigilance inquiry to identify all officers and government officials responsible for alleged lapses and misconduct in the construction within 15 days and the initiation of criminal action against defaulting officials.
The Signature View Apartment complex, built during 2007-2009, was allotted to the residents in 2011-2012. Later, the flats started facing construction-related issues, forcing the residents to complain about them to the DDA.
A 2021-2022 study conducted by IIT Delhi, commissioned by the DDA, found the building to be structurally unsafe with a recommendation to “vacate and dismantle” it.
“This should serve as a message from the L-G to all officials and contractors that no laxity, misconduct or collusion will be tolerated and that the residents are supreme,” an L-G House official said.
The L-G, according to the official, overruled the DDA that was “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.”
In response, the official said, the L-G had said, “Apparently, there has been no application of mind on the part of the legal department 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 government organisation, but also runs in contravention of the principle of natural justice, since the DDA had charged the consumer in the name of “Maintenance Charges for 30 years.”
Writing to the DDA, the L-G Secretariat has noted, “The hon’ble Lieutenant Governor, after going through these contentions of the legal department, has disagreed with the position taken by the DDA. It is not right to state that DDA has no responsibility in the instant matter. Viewing all the facts, Hon’ble Lt. Governor has taken a considered view that DDA must step in in this case in the larger public interest.”
The L-G Secretariat, in a note on January 23, asked the DDA to draw up a redevelopment and rehabilitation plan for the complex, in consultation with the RWA.
On its part, the association welcomed the move. “We, the residents of Signature View Apartments, Mukherji Nagar, are thankful to Delhi L-G V K Saxena for ordering the DDA to redevelop the entire apartment complex and rehabilitate the residents in the interim,” the RWA said in a statement, adding, “With this decision, the L-G has offered respite to the 336 families who had been struggling to convey the threats that loom over their daily lives to various government departments.”