Four killed as shanties collapse in Delhi

August 10th, 2008 - 12:25 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) At least four people were killed and 19 seriously injured when a group of shanties built over a drain collapsed here Saturday, police said. “The incident took place at around 5 p.m. Thirteen shanties, which were built over a drain, collapsed and fell into the drain behind the Christian cemetery on the Prithviraj Road,” a police official said.

“All the shanties were double-storeyed. They might have caved in due to excessive rains in the last two days,” the official added.

Eyewitnesses told police they heard a loud noice and when they reached the spot they were shocked.

The cluster, part of a large area called Labour Camp, has over 800 such shanties with around 2,000 inhabitants. Most shanties are double or triple-storeyed, according to a resident. Most of the people living in the camp are from Uttar Pradesh.

“At least fiver fire tenders were rushed to the spot. The rescue operation was on till late into the night. More people are feared trapped under debris,” a fire brigade officer said.

The injured were taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Police identified those who died as Deepak, 16, his mother Kamla Devi, 38, and Pintu Yadav, 29, while one body was yet to be identified.

“The condition of three people was critical while many suffered serious injuries,” the police officer added.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit visited the spot and announced a compensation of Rs.100,000 for adults and Rs.50,000 for the child who died, and Rs.20,000 for the injured.

According to New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) officials, the drain runs about 30 feet below the ground level.

“The cluster was unauthorized and built on a 100-year-old storm water barrel. We are looking into the matter,” NDMC director (public relations) Anand Tiwari said.

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