Builder ignored warnings of possible collapse

March 29th, 2008 - 10:19 pm ICT by admin  

By Sahil Makkar
New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The building collapse in northeast Delhi Saturday that killed seven people could have been avoided if the builder had acted after being warned that the structure had developed cracks and was leaning dangerously on just three pillars. According to Mohammed Jumman, a labourer who survived the disaster at the low-income Bhrampuri area, said he and fellow workers had repeatedly warned builder Dheeraj Garg about its possible collapse but he overruled them.

“On Friday morning, our supervisor Aalam also warned Dheeraj bhaiya that the building could crash. But Dheereaj ignored our warnings and asked us to finish the rest of the construction,” said Jumman, 25.

“Whenever we complained about the structure, he would tell us to fill the cracks with marble and cement, saying nothing would happen.”

Jumman, who suffered minor injuries on the head, spoke to IANS from his bed at the Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Hospital.

A native of Bihar, Jumman was working on the top floor of the four-storey building when it came crashing down due to what the police said was the use of substandard material and poor construction design.

He said he was buried under heaps of concrete and managed to crawl out through a small hole. He managed to pull out three of his colleagues - Mohammed Irshad, 50, Mohammed Imran, 25, and Mumtaz, 32.

But they were declared brought dead by doctors at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital (GTB). At least seven people, including two children, were killed and 20 injured in the tragedy.

Mohammed Ikram, 24, another labourer who survived with head injuries, blamed Garg for the faulty designing. “Do you think a four-floor building could ever survive on three pillars?” Ikram asked.

“The base was weak. Walls on the ground floor were not meant to hold the pressure of three more storeys. The heavy flooring of the three upper storeys added to the burden on the ground floor walls and the three pillars that the entire building stood on,” Ikram said, holding his bruised head.

The atmosphere at the GTB hospital ward where the injured were treated was charged with grief as more wounded workers were brought in.

Mohammed Feroze wiped his tears as he blamed Garg’s lust for money for the death of his brother-in-law Mumtaz, widowing his sister. “Where will my sister and her nieces go now?” asked Feroze. Mumtaz was the family’s breadwinner.

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