New Delhi: At least five people have been killed and nine others injured, two seriously, after part of a godown under construction collapsed and fell on them in the village of Bakoli in Alipur outside Delhi on Friday afternoon, police said. All of the dead and injured were daily bets who worked on the site, police said.
The contractor and site supervisor were arrested after a case was filed under Sections 288 of the Indian Penal Code (negligent conduct in relation to the destruction or repair of buildings), 304 (culpable homicide not constituting not murder), 337 (injured by an act endangering the life or personal safety of others) and 34 (common intent) in connection with the accident, police said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed their anguish and shock over the incident.
Read also : PM Modi ‘anguished’ as 5 die in Delhi’s Alipur wall collapse
“Distressed by the accident in Alipur, Delhi. My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones. Praying for those injured to recover ASAP: PM @narendramodi,” the PMO tweeted.
Delhi’s chief minister said he was monitoring the relief work. “A very tragic incident happened in Alipur. The district administration is involved in rescue and rescue operations. I oversee the relief work. I pray for the souls of the deceased,” Kejriwal said in a Hindi tweet.
Around 150 daily bets were working on the site when around 12.30pm on Friday a 100ft long and 15ft high wall collapsed and fell on nearly 20 workers who were digging an adjacent foundation. Some of them were rescued immediately by other workers and escaped unharmed, but 14 others were injured, police said.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Police said the construction of the godown was illegal as it was built on farmland in the village of Bakoli, which is a rural area. The Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) had issued a restraining order against the construction, read a statement issued by the MCD after the incident.
“The MCD had also carried out a demolition action on April 22 and then wrote a letter to the relevant police station to monitor and not allow construction to resume. On July 13, during a site visit by an engineer, construction activities were noted to be in progress and after booking the property, he had issued a notice to the owner in this regard,” the MCD said in a statement. communicated.
Police said their preliminary investigation revealed that the godown was built by a Shakti Singh from Bakoli village who is a “cousin of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Narela Sharad Chauhan.
“We learned that Shakti Singh, 40, had given the godown construction contract to a person named Sikandar. Although it has come to our knowledge that Sikandar Singh is also the owner of the land, we have to authenticate this by seeing the original registration documents. Sikandar and site supervisor Satish have been arrested but Singh is on the run,” Deputy Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer North) Raja Banthia said.
When contacted, Narela MP Sharad Chauhan confirmed that Shakti Singh was his cousin, but added: “Anyone who is responsible and violated the law leading to the incident should be punished as severely as possible. Illegal construction in the area is an old issue and I have been speaking out against it for a long time.
Police said the foundations of the godown were laid in December last year and the MCD first learned of the illegal construction in that month. Subsequently, construction stopped for a while, but later resumed. On July 7 and 11, the MCD was notified of the resumption of illegal construction, they said.
Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Chief Atul Garg said the fire control room received a call at 12:42 p.m. that a house had collapsed in Bakoli village near Chauhan Dharamkanta in Alipur. Four firefighters and rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the scene of the accident. After reaching the spot, firefighters learned that a wall of an under-construction godown spread over about 5,000 square meters had collapsed, Garg said.
Apart from local police, residents and firefighters, volunteer teams from the National Disaster Response Force and Delhi Civil Defense also joined the rescue and search operation which lasted almost four hours. Two earth-moving machines and four hydras were also used in the operation. The 14 rescued and injured people were rushed to Satyawadi Raja Harish Chandra Hospital, where five of them were pronounced dead.
“Of the nine injured workers, two were referred to Lok Nayak Hospital as their condition was critical,” a senior police officer said.
Mukim Khan, a lorry driver who was present near the crash site, said he was in a nearby workshop when he heard a loud noise and rushed in with his employer and three workers. “I thought the noise was either from a bomb explosion or an explosion in an electric tank. Soon I heard women screaming for help. We rushed in that direction and saw that a long wall had collapsed and many people were trapped. The five of us joined the workers and saved four injured people by removing bricks, iron rods and dirt with our hands,” Khan said.
The deceased were identified as Rishipal, 40, Pramod Kumar, 29, Govind Prasad alias Bablu, 30 and two other men named Pramod but aged 45 and 35. The injured were Kishan, Ram Kishor, Puran, Sanjay, Rambir, Mahavir Das, Guddu. and Nem Chand, all aged between 23 and 47.
Most of the victims came from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. All were day laborers earning between ₹800 and ₹1,000, depending on their skills, said the workers who survived the hospital.
Meena Devi, wife of late mason Pramod Kumar, said they and their one-year-old daughter, Jyoti, came to Delhi from their hometown in Palamu district of Jharkhand to earn the money they needed to their survival and for his sister’s wedding later this year. The couple had started working on the site from Monday and were being paid ₹2,000 as advance by contractor for accommodation and food. She was also working on the site but on the other side of another constructed wall when the accident claimed her husband’s life.
“Through a hole in the wall, I could see the other wall slowly collapsing on the side where my husband and other workers were working. By the time I raised the alarm and rushed there, my husband and a few other men were already trapped under the rubble. Some were rescued but my husband was killed along with four others. I would never have come to Delhi if I knew the city would claim everything from me,” Devi said, sitting on a sidewalk nursing her daughter.
Devi said she had no money to bring her husband’s body back to their hometown. “A government official promised me ₹15,000 but now you don’t see it anywhere,” she added.
Like Kumar, Rishipal, 35, had also come to Delhi from Badaun with his mother and a sister to earn a living a month ago. He also died winning ₹800 which he received as a daily wage.
His mother, Dulari, said he was the only member of the family who earned a living and left behind his four daughters, wife, parents and three sisters. “Who’s going to take care of us now?” she said.
One of the injured men, Nemchand, said: “We were digging the foundations when the wall collapsed and I was trapped in the rubble. Someone pulled me out when I passed out. I received injuries to the back of my head, back and legs.