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DDA initiates process to demolish Signature View Apartments

Delhi Development Authority(DDA) has initiated the process to demolish the crumbling Signature View Apartments in north Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar. It has invited applications from contractors to submit bids for the demolition of 336 high-income group and middle-income group apartments. A pre-bid meeting on the Rs 3-crore project will be held on April 1.

At the last hearing on the matter on March 14, Delhi High Court extended the interim stay against the demolition granted last year. The court also asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to explain the basis on which it declared Signature View Apartments dangerous. The matter will next be heard on April 22.

Last year, the high court also stayed DDA’s plan to demolish the apartments on a separate plea filed by some of the apartment residents.

A DDA official clarified on Wednesday, “The tender process has been started to save time. However, any contract will be awarded only after the court verdict.”

Amarendra Kumar Rakesh, president, Signature View Apartments RWA, said, “We learnt about the development only when some people, probably contractors, visited our apartment on Wednesday to check the status of the flats and structure. DDA didn’t inform us before starting the tender process.”

The RWA is in favour of the demolition and is ready to vacate provided DDA starts paying compensatory rent to the evacuated residents. “The building is not at all safe and needs to be demolished. Over 100 families have already left due to cracks developing in the buildings, pillars, parking area, etc.,” said Rakesh.

According to DDA’s tender proposal, the agency awarded the contract will be responsible for the demolition of the structure but no external services outside the building line, such as sewers, water lines, drains, electric lines or boundary walls will be dismantled unless asked by the DDA engineer in charge. “The selected concessionaire will be given 120 days to complete the demolition process,” said DDA in its tender document.

Signature View Apartments comprise 10 towers with stilt and 10 storeys and two towers with stilt and six storeys. “Since the demolition process must avoid damage to adjacent structures and human life, the agency will be required to hire a proficient consultant with a seven-year track record in overseeing the demolition of multi-storeyed RCC structures,” said DDA.

The apartment complex was built between 2007 and 2010 and allotted to the residents in 2011-2012. But in just a few years after that, residents were concerned about the structural safety of the building. According to some residents, construction-related issues started surfacing in 2012-13 and forced them to pursue the matter with DDA. IIT-Delhi, at DDA’s instance, conducted a study and took 184 samples for testing in 2021-22. It recommended DDA “vacate and dismantle” the buildings immediately.

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