Two killed in building collapse

Two members of a family, including a 10-year-old girl, were killed and three injured when a two-storey building collapsed at north east Delhi’s Tahirpur on Wednesday.

Rescue operations were going on till late as some labourers were believed to be trapped in the rubble.

Veerpal, 34, and his daughter Sapna, were declared brought dead at Guru Teg
Bahadur Hospital, while his two other daughters Rajkumari, 12, and Shashi, 15, and son Babu, 17, are undergoing treatment. After initial probe, police and fire officials believe that the building collapsed due to re-construction work on a nearby drain by the Public Works Department.

“There is a possibility that the construction might have weakened the foundation of the building, that in turn led to the collapse,” a police officer said.

There were three shops on the ground floor and a few families lived on the first floor. “People around knew that construction on the drain, 13 feet wide and 15 feet deep, may cause some trouble. That was the reason why shopkeepers on the ground floor sensed the danger and left early, but the family living on the first floor perhaps did not get the warning in time,” said Dharmender Singh, a local.

Eyewitnesses said that there were three to four masons still working on the drain when the house collapsed at 4:10 pm on Wednesday. “Fortunately, all the three shops were closed for past three days due to the construction,” the officer added. The owner of the building, Bijender, is absconding.

Blame game

Meanwhile, East Delhi Municipal Corporation officials put the blame on the public works department for the building collapse. “It was not a dangerous building. The PWD was re-modelling the drain running next to the building. The collapse happened due to the work being carried out at the drain,” said a senior EDMC official.

Sources in the corporation, however, said the plot on which the building stands is a part of the land outside the limits of Lal Dora – thus rendering the building an illegal building. As per National Crime Records Bureau’s latest figures for unnatural accidents, out of 53 cities, Delhi has experienced maximum damage by collapse of structures. In 2011, 68 cases of structure collapse were reported in which 60 people died and 75 were injured.

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