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Signature View Apartments: Residents demand compensation, implementation of LG’s directives in letter and spirit

Falling concrete, cracks in buildings pose threat to lives of residents in the high-rise towers. DDA to meet the residents on January 30 to thrash out the future course of action.

Even as Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena ordered the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to redevelop the “structurally damaged” Signature View Apartments in North Delhi, residents of the housing complex fear for their life as they say the flats show signs of deterioration such as falling of concrete and cracks in these high-rise towers.

Residents demand “adequate compensation” and implementation of the Lt Governor’s directives in letter and spirit.

Following complaints of residents of Signature View Apartments, Delhi LG Vinai Kumar Saxena on January 24 this year ordered the DDA to redevelop the “structurally damaged” Signature View Apartments in North Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar and support the thousands of residents facing “grave danger to life and property”.

Saxena, who is also the DDA chairman, has also ordered criminal proceedings against the contractors, construction agencies and also directed a vigilance inquiry to identify officials responsible for the lapses in the construction of these high rises within 15 days.

Approximately 1,600 people live in the Signature View Apartment housing complex, consisting of 12 towers, and located in North Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar.

According to sources, DDA is likely to convene a meeting with the residents of the housing complex on January 30 to decide the future course of action.

The issue

The Signature View Apartment Complex was built during 2007-2010 by DDA and allotments made in 2012.

According to the residents, construction-related issues started surfacing from 2012-13, soon after the society became operational.

Signature View 1Gaurav Pandey, Secretary – RWA, Signature View Apartment, said the residents noticed the condition of the building deteriorating rapidly, with concrete falling off ceilings, plaster peeling off walls, beams and walls developing cracks, and iron bars corroding.

He said that several representations were made to the DDA, and testing was done in these last 10 years, but resulted in no concrete solution to the problems.

“In 2021-2022, a study was conducted by IIT Delhi at the behest of DDA and it found that the building was structurally unsafe. The report had recommended to ‘vacate and dismantle’ the complex. But even after that nothing moved until the LG ordered redevelopment of the complex on January 24. The buildings of the society are potential threats to the lives of thousands of residents,” Pandey said.

The Signature View Apartment RWA had also written to the lieutenant governor on December 13, 2022 and demanded his intervention in the matter to ensure safety of the residents.

Following the letter, Lieutenant Governor Saxena, on January 24, asked the DDA to redevelop the housing complex and “rehabilitate the residents in the interim”.

Building safety became a matter of concern in Delhi-NCR after two people were killed when the floors of six apartments collapsed in Chintels Paradiso complex in Sector 109, Gurugram. Separately, residents of NBCC Green View in Sector 39D had to move out after a safety audit showed their apartments were structurally unsafe.

Following these incidents in NCR, the Noida Authority had, in November 2022, announced a structural safety policy making it mandatory for developers to submit the structural audit report from empanelled IITs, NITs or specialist institutions before issuance of partial or full occupancy certificate.

“With this decision, the LG has offered respite to 336 families who had been living under dangerous conditions. The issue will be resolved when the LG’s directions are complied with,” Pandey said.

Residents’ demand

Pandey said that the society is unfit for habitation and the reasons for it, as indicated in the IIT Delhi study are “poor construction quality”, poor quality control during construction, and “inferior” raw materials used.

He said that these were expensive flats sold by DDA at a cost of Rs 82 lakh to Rs 90 lakh in 2012. In 2014, some of the flats were sold at a price of Rs 1.14 crore. Now these condominiums have become structurally damaged. So, the question arises ― how did these expensive buildings became “unusable” in just 10-12 years.

Also Read: Green View apartment owners cry foul as NBCC stops rental assistance to residents evicted following cracks in building

He said that the LG’s intervention in the issue is appreciated and much required, but the problem of relocation of residents to other place and compensation are to be taken care of properly.

“We demand that residents be adequately compensated for expenses incurred by them in furnishing and improvement of the flats, rent they may have to bear till the new flats are constructed and furnished, and for the mental trauma they are undergoing,” Pandey said.

He added that residents are hopeful that the DDA officials will show “efficiency and empathy” in following the orders of the 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 the said redevelopment.

Bhupinder Chaudhary, a resident of the housing complex, said that so far there is no clarity on compensation, and also on whether DDA will pay the rent for the relocated families.

He said that for the last 10 years, residents have been raising the issue of poor construction quality and unsafe building, but no authority paid heed to their demand.

“We are still living under constant threat to our lives. Residents fear for their lives in the complex as the buildings are unsafe here to live. Now all of a sudden where do we go? We should be fairly compensated and clarity should be provided on grey areas like who will bear the cost of rent, relocation, rehabilitation and the process of redevelopment. We request cooperation and support from DDA officials,” Chaudhary said.

A DDA spokesperson said that the directives of the lieutenant governor will be complied with.

Sources in the DDA said that the Authority is likely to convene a meeting with residents of the housing complex on January 30 to hear their concerns and deliberate on the modalities for redevelopment of the condominiums and rehabilitation of its occupants.

Ashish Mishra
first published: Jan 28, 2023 10:01 am