Remarking that mere paperwork and consultations would not solve the threat faced by the citizens of Delhi due to heightened seismic activity, the Delhi High Court has directed the state government and the local bodies to explain their “Plan of Implementation” to deal with a major earthquake. (Arpit Bhargava vs NDMC &Ors)
The order was passed by a division bench comprising of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar in an application moved by Arpit Bhargava.
The application formed part of a pending 2015 petition concerning the seismic stability and earthquake activities building in Delhi.
Bhargava had preferred an application for urgent directions in the wake of 11 earthquakes having hit Delhi between April 12 and June 4, 2020.
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The Delhi Municipal Corporations submitted that they were conscious of the seismic activity in Delhi and had notified an action plan for making buildings in Delhi seismic compliant. It was further added that the they were working out a plan to implement the action plan.
The Delhi Government also informed the court that it had already issued a notification to make all buildings in Delhi seismically compliantin April 2019.
Stressed upon the need of having “real work on the ground”, the court said,
..mere paperwork and consultations would not solve the (imminent) threat that the citizens of NCT of Delhi faces due to heightened seismic activity and that it is only actual work on ground which would come to rescue of the citizens. We hope the respondents are conscious of the same, and some real work on the ground is undertaken to save the citizens from a possible catastrophe.
It ordered the Municipal Corporations of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Cantonment Board and Delhi Government to file within one week their respective affidavits explaining their ‘Plan of Implementation’, and how they proposed to implement the same on an urgent basis.
The Court further recorded that it had issued a direction seeking a detailed action planon May 1, 2019, however, the same was yet to be publicised.
It, accordingly, directed the state government to file an affidavit in the case of earthquake palns , stating the steps that taken or proposed to be taken to sensitize not only Government functionaries but also the public at large with respect to the steps they could take to save themselves from a major earthquake.
The matter will next be heard on June 18.
Read the order here: