M A I N   N E W S

10 die as building collapses
Ambika Sharma

Bagha(arki), July 28
As many as 10 labourers, including three children and a women, were killed and another four injured, one seriously, when an under construction private building they were sleeping in collapsed at Bagha village in Arki tehsil last night.

Two others, including Gaffur and Zahid Khan escaped with minor injuries. The building belonging to Mansa Ram was under construction and the roof of its third floor was being laid when the work was stopped last evening.

The building was inhabited by migrant labourer. A labourer's family from Chattisgarh comprising a mason, his wife and three children, including two daughters (5 and 8 years) and a son (2), had been working in the building. They were living there for the past few days and were killed on the spot.

As many as 11 labourers were sleeping on the ground floor when the mishap occurred. According to Zahid Khan, who survived with minor injuries, nine labourers had come from Saharanpur yesterday morning in search of work here. Since there was no other place to stay they decided to spend the night on the ground floor. He said he barely managed to flee from the falling building when its slab began giving way.

Officials of the J.P. Cement plant nearby rushed immediately to rescue these people when the news of the building collapse reached them yesterday. The Director, Mr Rajiv Gaur, said they immediately put their two ambulances, two doctors and labourers to work to extricate the bodies.

The SDM, Arki, Mr Rohit Zambal, who was supervising rescue operations, said help from other labourers from Saharanpur who were working here was being taken to identify them.

The DSP (Headquarters), Mr R.C. Chhajta, said the police was seeking help from the other Saharanpur-based labourers to identify those killed.

The mason was identified as Besant Pemla and his family who were hailing from Pathgarh village of Chattisgarh. The DSP, the SDM and Mr RAjiv Gaur monitored the rescue operation.

Five among those dead have been identified. They belong to the same family from Behat village in Saharanpur and include Manzoor, Israr, Asleem, Gola and Naushad.

As many as five injured were rushed to the nearby district hospital in Bilaspur. One of the injured Zulfan who has received compound fracture in the left ankle was referred to PGI, Chandigarh, after receiving preliminary treatment from Bilaspur.

Others admitted there include Mohammad Gulfam, Zareef, Mohammed Akhtar and Zulfan. An injured Gaffur who was in a state of shock said, “The slab collapsed while we were sleeping and within no time the whole building collapsed. I barely managed to escape. While about four men managed to rush outside others got no time to come out. I was the first to rush out.”

Stunned and upset at the mishap he said, “ About 11 men had come from Saharanpur yesterday morning in search of work here.” He later went to Bilaspur hospital to look after the others who were injured.

Another local rued that proper construction norms were not being followed due to which the building had collapsed. Mansa Ram, the building owner, however said he had not hired the building to anyone and the migrant labour staying there on their own. He refused to comment further .

The Chief Medical Officer ,Bilaspur, Dr Anil Gupta, said out of the four admitted at Bilaspur hospital, Zulfan who had received multiple fractures had been referred to PGI, Chandigarh, while others with simple fractures in the leg and pelvis bone were being treated here.

According to onlookers, the building had collapsed due to the use of faulty construction material. Others opined that the wall of the overlying road was filled with water which rushed into the weak building structure leading to its collapse.

The district administration has announced an immediate relief of Rs 25,000 to the kin of those dead, Rs 10,000 to the seriously injured and Rs 2,000 to those receiving minor injuries. The Deputy Speaker, Mr Dharam Pal Thakur, later visited the injured at Bilaspur and inquired about their welfare.

The police has registered a case under Sections 363, 337, 338 and 304-A of the IPC and further investigations are underway. 




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