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Posted at: Apr 13, 2018, 1:36 AM; last updated: Apr 13, 2018, 1:36 AM (IST)

Labourers feared trapped as 4-storey structure gives way

Were engaged in plaster work at Zirakpur during mishap; probe ordered

Satinder Pal Singh

Zirakpur, April 12

A few labourers were feared trapped while some had a miraculous escape when a four-storeyed under-construction building at Emperial Garden in Peer Muchalla here collapsed on Thursday afternoon.

According to reports, no causalities were reported till the filing of this report. However, a few labourers were believed to be still trapped in the debris, according to the headcount provided by one of the labourers to the police and rescue teams.

The incident occurred around 12.50 pm when three or four groups of construction workers, around 15 in all, were on various floors when the building suddenly started tilting before collapsing in a heap. The first floor of the building was occupied by three or four families of labourers.

The rescue operation began immediately to look for the labourers trapped under the debris. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were also rushed to the spot.

Four human-detection machines were pressed into service to rescue people feared trapped under the rubble. While the relief and rescue operation was under way involving the NDRF, the police as well as fire and emergency services personnel, Mohali Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra, SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal and other officials of the local administration also reached the spot to oversee the  operations. Reports suggested that the cause behind the collapse was the use of low-grade construction material by the contractor, who fled away from the spot after the incident. According to sources, workers were engaged in plaster work when the mishap took place.

City hospitals, inclduing CHCs, were put on alert and five ambulances, along with paramedical staff, were pressed into service to deal with any emergency following the incident.

Barely a few yards away, residents of Emperial Garden heard a loud bang and mistook it for an accident. 

DC Gurpreet Kaur Sapra said, “No casualties have been reported, but our first aim is to ascertain that no one is trapped inside.”

Sapra marked a magisterial probe into the incident and directed the SDM, Dera Bassi, Paramjit Singh, to submit a report. She also asked the SDM to prepare a report regarding other buildings that have come up on the periphery of societies.

Saresh, an eyewitness and labourer, said he saw the building tilt towards the left and fall like a pack of cards. He said the families living on the first floor of the building had been trapped under the debris.  Gurvinder Singh, DSP, Dera Bassi, said, “We have registered a case against 10 people.” Rescue and relief operations were under way at the time of the filing of this report.


Developers, contractors booked

The police have booked the developers and contractors in this connection. Those booked are Mandeep Singla, Sunil Aggarwal, Sanjeev Goel, Pawan Goel, OP Singla, Suresh Singla, Pushpinder, Vinod and two others. The police have also booked the then Executive Officer, SDO, architect and building inspector under Sections 420, 336, 337, 288, 427 and 120-B of the IPC on a complaint of Jagjeet Singh, Dhakoli police post in-charge.

Helpline number of little help

The helpline number “100” of the Police Control Room was not accessible, making it tough for onlookers in distress to seek help. Saresh, one of an eyewitness, tried calling 100 in afternoon to report the incident, but could not get through. The computerised response the caller got was — “All lines are busy”.

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