'Lucky' Amavasya for some

Mishap could have been averted, say residents

JCBs being used to clear the debris at the Bhalki bus stand, the roof of which caved in on Friday morning, killing three people and injuring at least 25. DH Photo

The bus stand in this town would generally have at least hundred people on any given day. About 30 people were waiting for their buses when the roof of the three-decade-old structure came crashing down at 11 am on Friday.

Eyewitness Somnath Asture told Deccan Herald, “I heard a deafening sound when I was on my way home. The old building had caved in. Three people were buried under the rubble.”

Asture said the tragedy would have been greater had the roof collapsed later in the day.
“The incident occurred at a time when the weather was not so hot. So, many people were standing outside the old building, waiting for their buses. If the temperature had been high, then many more people would have been inside the building, and the number of casualties would have been higher,” he said.

Vijay Kumar Parme, a resident of Bhalki town, recalled that when NEKRTC Managing Director Shankar Patil visited the town eight months back, residents requested him to begin construction work after the old building was demolished. “But our request was not heeded, else there would have been fewer casualties,” he said.

NEKRTC Divisional Controller Venkateshwara Reddy told Deccan Herald that the exact cause of the mishap is still unknown. “The structure was three decades old, and we have started constructing another building nearby. We went ahead with construction without demolishing the old structure, thinking that people would get cover from the sun. It is unfortunate that the old building collapsed. Had the decision to demolish the old structure been effected earlier, casualties could have been avoided,” he added.

As many as five JCB machines have been pressed into service to clear the debris. Gas cutters are being used to cut the rods of the RCC slabs. Personnel from the police and fire department are assisting the operation. The injured are being treated at Bidar and Bhalki general hospitals.

Police personnel had a tough time controlling the crowd that thronged the mishap site. As a precautionary measure, all bus services have been diverted on other routes.
Deputy Commissioner Harsha Gupta, Superintendent of Police Satish Kumar, ad senior NEKRTC officials  supervised the rescue operations.

Rs 2 lakh for victims’ families

Chief Minister Yeddyurappa has announced a compensation of Rs two lakh to the families of those killed in the Bhalki bus stand collapse, DHNS reports from Bangalore.
A statement from the CM’s secretariat said that the government will also arrange for treatment of people injured in the mishap. Expressing shock and dismay over the incident, the CM has directed Bidar Deputy Commissioner Harsha Gupta to initiate action against those responsible for negligence. Compensation for injured will be decided on the basis of need for treatment and seriousness of the injuries, the statement said.

DH News Service

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