Delhi death toll rises to 65, rescue efforts on (Second lead)November 16th, 2010 - 1:34 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) With hope ebbing every passing minute, rescuers Tuesday continued to search for possible survivors under the debris of an unauthorised five-storey building here that caved in a day earlier, killing at least 65 people.
Police slapped a case of negligence against the building’s owner, Amrit Singh, who has been on the run ever since all floors of the building collapsed Monday night in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar, entombing dozens of migrant labourers from Bihar and West Bengal.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who visited the site Tuesday, said the death toll had risen to 65. At least 80 injured were admitted to four hospitals, many of them battling for their lives after receiving head injuries as bricks and cement rained on them, a police official said.
The tragedy took place in the congested locality near the Yamuna river in east Delhi around 8.15 p.m.
On Tuesday morning, even as rescue work continued, there was complete chaos in the area.
Among those who looked for their loved ones was Jamuna Devi who pleaded for her son, 50-year-old Qutub, to be rescued from under rubble. “He called up on his mobile phone Monday night. And he said he is still trapped inside. Mujhe bachao (please rescue me), he told me,” Jamuna Devi told IANS.
However, the phone was found switched off when rescuers tried calling it.
Vinod Kumar, a survivor, went on to say that had the collapse happened an hour later, there would have been more casualties.
“At any time, at least 100 people used to stay in the building. A local chai-wala’s sons were inside the building when it collapsed. One is dead and we are still looking for the other,” he said.
Dikshit squarely blamed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for the collapse, saying the building was constructed without authorisation.
“There is definitely negligence on the part of MCD,” said Dikshit, describing the accident as “unprecedented”. “Without an NOC (no objection certificate), no building is considered liveable. It was an unauthorised building.”
“Now the priority is to take out the debris and rescue people. A magisterial enquiry has been ordered and we will wait for the report to take action. A case has been registered against the owner of the building by police,” she added.
Dikshit announced a compensation amount of Rs.2 lakh to the families of those who lost their lives. The injured will be given a compensation amount of Rs.50,000 each.
The MCD, however, said they will wait for the enquiry report for further action.
MCD spokesperson Deep Mathur said: “We are cooperating in the enquiry. This is a low lying area and the flood waters seeped into the basement of the building and weakened the foundation, which maybe the primary cause of the collapse.”
The rescue work continued through the night but the work, officials admitted, was daunting considering the scale of the tragedy - five collapsed floors and several tonnes of brick, mortar and entire cemented floors.
Delhi Lt. General Tejender Khanna said: “We have got in touch with Professor S.K. Bhattacharya at the Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee who will bring a team to do a survey of the Shahdara zone (in east Delhi)”.
“Any building found unsafe will be considered for retro-fitting. But if a building is found not worth that, then it will be sealed and demolished. There has always been a question mark on the safety of buildings in this area.”
Delhi Fire Service chief R.C. Sharma said the rescue work would go on until it was abundantly clear that all those in the building had been found.
However, it was unclear how many people lived there. Locals said the owner had rented out every room to workers looking for a roof and that the base of the building had weakened after this year’s flooding.
The first to reach the tragedy site were nearby residents who rushed after hearing the roaring noise of the collapsing building.
Once the dust settled, people began to frantically rescue the injured - and remove the visibly dead - with bare hands before police and fire brigade arrived.
Delhi’s Finance Minister A.K. Walia, who is the legislator from the area, said the authorities had been trying to drain out rain water from the basement of the building for weeks. But every time this was done, the water simply flowed back.
- Delhi death toll rises to 60, rescuers hunt for survivors (Lead) - Nov 16, 2010
- Delhi building collapse toll 66, over 30 still feared trapped (Roundup) - Nov 16, 2010
- Blame game in midst of building collapse tragedy - Nov 16, 2010
- Four killed in Delhi building collapse - Dec 03, 2011
- Toll in Delhi building collapse rises to 64, rescue work still on - Nov 16, 2010
- Delhi building collapse: 20 still buried under debris - Nov 17, 2010
- Two arrested for Delhi building collapse - Dec 04, 2011
- Building collapse toll 69, political blame game goes on (Night Lead) - Nov 18, 2010
- Delhi building toll 55, rescue work on - Nov 16, 2010
- Delhi building collapse: People, NGO pitch in with succour (Lead) - Nov 17, 2010
- Jalandhar collapse: Worker rescued after 72 hours - Apr 19, 2012
- Rescuers work with hope among mangled human remains - Nov 16, 2010
- Parts of five buildings demolished in west Delhi - Dec 20, 2010
- Hopes recede of finding survivors in collapsed Punjab factory (Lead) - Apr 18, 2012
- Worker rescued 55 hours after Jalandhar factory collapse - Apr 18, 2012
Tags: amrit singh, authorisation, bihar, chief minister, death toll, east delhi, head injuries, laxmi nagar, migrant labourers, municipal corporation of delhi, municipal corporation of delhi mcd, police official, qutub, rescue efforts, rescuers, sheila dikshit, tuesday morning, vinod kumar, west bengal, yamuna river