Seven killed in Delhi building collapse

March 29th, 2008 - 9:29 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) At least two children and five adults were killed when a four-storey building being built collapsed here Saturday because of poor quality construction material, the police said. An unspecified number of people are still trapped under tonnes of shattered concrete slabs. The commercial-cum-residential building in Brahmpuri area of northeast Delhi came crashing in a roar at around 7.30 a.m. when around 30 labourers from Bihar were in the complex, some of them working on the rooftop. Twenty of them have been injured.

Residents in the low-income area recalled the horror moments.

Satyawati Bhardwaj, 60, was on her morning walk when she saw the building come down — like a pack of cards.

“There was a huge rumbling sound and within seconds the entire area was filled with dust,” Bhardwaj told IANS at the disaster site. “All the neighbours rushed to pull out the trapped people from under the rubble.”

Mohammed Jumman, a labourer who escaped the tragedy with minor head injuries, said: “I and three other labourers were working on the roof of the building when it collapsed.

“I was buried under the debris, but managed to come out on my own through a small hole. I pulled out Mohammed Irshad, Mohammed Imran, and Mumtaz. But they were dead,” Jumman, 23, told IANS from his Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital bed.

A large chunk of the building also fell on an adjacent single-storey house.

Mohammed Junaid, preparing for his Class 12 school leaving examination, was at the unlucky adjoining house.

“I was getting ready for my Hindi exam when a part of the building fell on our house. I was trapped in the bathroom. My two elder brothers and their families were trapped in their rooms,” he said, pointing to his head and leg injuries.

Junaid’s four-year-old nephew Raja and six-month-old niece were killed. Their parents, Mohammed Bali, 38, and Phoolwati Bano, 32, were injured.

Neighbours pulled out the unconscious and profusely bleeding couple from under huge slabs. Around 10 fire fighting tenders as well as hydraulic machines, cranes and tractors were used to remove the wreckage and rescue the labourers.

Disaster management experts joined the rescue efforts and pulled out around 17 people.

The Delhi Police, which deployed anti-riot personnel to control hordes of onlookers, blamed Dheeraj Garg, who was building the complex.

“The building collapsed due to the sub-standard material. We have registered a case against Garg,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast Delhi) Rajiv Ranjan said.

A local politician and two of his associates were reported to have invested money in the building. Asked about their possible arrest, Ranjan said: “Their names have come up. They will not be spared if found guilty.”

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit announced a compensation of Rs.200,000 to the families of the deceased. Mayor Aarti Mehra said separately that Rs.50,000 would be given to the grieving kin.

Mehra said: “It was a grave lapse on the part of the Municipal Corporation (to have allowed the construction). I have suspended assistant engineer B.D. Sharma and junior engineer Pradeep Sharma with immediate effect. “A vigilance inquiry has also been ordered against Deputy Commissioner (Shahdra zone) A.K. Singh.”

A.K. Singh said he had ordered the building to be sealed due to its faulty structure but “I am unaware how the construction work was again started”.

Delhi Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna has also ordered a magisterial inquiry.

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