Delhi crash toll 66, building owner arrested

House of cards: Govt orders structural inspection of all buildings in the Capital

Delhi crash toll 66, building owner arrested

Rescue work in progress after a five storey building collapses at Lalita Park in Lakshmi Nagar area of New Delhi on Monday. PTI

  Many of them are battling for their lives after suffering head injuries and multiple fracture, a police official said on Tuesday.
The rescue work continued throughout Monday night but the authorities had a daunting task ahead, considering the scale of the tragedy –– searching for lives in five collapsed floors where several tonnes of brick and mortar are piled up.

Police have slapped a case of negligence against the building owner Amrit Singh, who was arrested on Tuesday night. He has been on the run ever since the tragedy occurred.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday visited the site in the Lalita Park area of Laxmi Nagar on the banks of the Yamuna river. 

The victims were mostly migrant workers from West Bengal and Bihar who were working in construction sites and it was not clear how many people lived in the building. Local residents said the owner had rented out every room in the building to workers looking for a roof over their head and that the base of the building had weakened after this year’s floods.

Initial investigation pointed out that the 15-year-old building was constructed with poor building material and did not have any strong pillars. The water that collected in the basement of the building did not drain out as well.

However, following the tragedy, the Delhi government has ordered structural inspection of all buildings in the state to avoid recurrence of any such incident.

Delhi Lt General Tejender Khanna said: “We are in touch with S K Bhattacharya of the Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, who will bring a team to do a survey of the Shahdara zone in east Delhi.” 

“Any building found unsafe will be considered for retro-fitting. But if a building is found not worth that, then it will be sealed and demolished. There has always been a question mark on the safety of buildings in this area,” the official added.

Rescuers stumble upon utensils

Not so fashionable clothes, simple utensils and non-descriptive furniture items stumbled upon by rescue workers at the building collapse site in east Delhi said it all about the lives of the unfortunate residents, reports PTI from New Delhi.

The utensils like steel tumblers, tin plates, aluminium bowls and small pressure cookers came in handy for rescue workers as they used them to take the debris out. Some cycles were also recovered from tonnes of concrete debris.

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