Roof top cafes and restaurants are the major hangout spot for Delhiites at Cannaught Place. But soon this might turn other ways around. Rooftop restaurants and commercial establishments are likely to lose their licences as the cave-in at CP’s Block C collapsed on February 2, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) said adding that no commercial activity is permitted on rooftops at the colonial era shopping arcade.
“We have set up a team to survey Cannaught Place. Any commercial establishment found operating in an area where they are not permitted to operate will have their licence cancelled. The rooftops are not supposed to be used for commercial activity, a senior NDMC official said.”
The NDMC is also proposing to ask commercial establishments on the first floor to do away with high-power generator sets and water tanks which have been “mounting strain on the ageing rooftops”.
“We have proposed that shops must use invertors to power their establishments for the five minutes when the power supply is switched from the first circuit to the other. We feel there is no dire need for generators because there is no power shortage. We are trying to do away with the five-minute lapse as well by bringing in an automatic switching of circuits,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the council began clearing rubble from the site of Thursday’s cave-in, employing scores of personnel from the fire, electrical and civil engineering department. The string of ground floor shops remained closed indefinitely.
Officials said the NDMC’s five-member team (comprising a CPWD official, a professor of civil engineering from the IIT (Delhi) and others) will begin surveying the damage and assess the overall structure of the block once the rubble is cleared.
They added that it was the shop owners’ responsibility and not the council’s to check for structural strength of the shopping units.
However, urban planner and chief of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission, P S N Rao, said testing the structural stability of a building should have ideally been done by the NDMC which is authorised to check any new construction or related renovations in establishments at CP.
A K Jain, former commissioner of planning, DDA, said Cannaught Place was built and approved in 1930 and RBW has a shelf-life of 30 to 40 years.