Contractor killed in building collapse

14 other workers hurt, structure was being demolished as it tilted dangerously

Contractor killed in building collapse

A 45-year-old contractor was killed and 14 labourers were injured when part of a four-storey building collapsed in north-east Delhi’s Jafarabad in the early hours of Saturday.

The incident occurred when labourers were trying to demolish the building located next to a construction site of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Most of the victims were present on the second and third floor of the building at the time of the collapse at around 1 am.

According to East Delhi Municipal Corporation, a message was received around 8 pm on Friday that a property in Maujpur was tilting.

“Deputy commissioner of Shahdara (north) zone immediately acting on the complaint, sent its team for inspection of the building,” an EDMC officer said.

After inspection, the building and another edifice at its side were evacuated fearing that it may further tilt and collapse. “The owner was served a notice to demolish the dangerous portion of the building, else EDMC would do the needful as per procedure,” the officer added.

The owner, Riyazuddin, offered to do the demolition and wooden planks were placed at some vulnerable portions of the building to support the structure. “During the course of its demolition, a part of the building collapsed,” the officer said.

“The demolition started around midnight with 15 people working inside the building. Around three police personnel and some EDMC officers were also deployed to oversee the demolition,” said an eyewitness.

The road leading to the building was also barricaded to prevent commuters or pedestrians from coming near the building. The preventive measures, however, proved insufficient to avoid a mishap as the building caved in on the labourers nearly an hour after the demolition started.

The injured were brought out with the help of civil defence volunteers. They were rushed to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, where the contractor, identified as Fukran, was brought dead. Among the injured, five are reported to be critical.

Area residents said the upper three floors of the building had been built recently and the walls were mounted on what served as the parapet or the projections on the roof till then. They added that this was done without erecting pillars or columns to provide support, thus making the structure unstable.

Soon after the construction was done with, cracks appeared in different parts of the building. As the cracks widened, the matter was brought to the notice of the local civic body.

Clarifying that no construction was being done in the building, EDMC said one poklaine, three JCBs, 10 trucks and other equipment were pressed into service to remove the remaining portion of the building and removal of debris.

EDMC mayor Ram Narain Dubey also visited the spot on Saturday afternoon. When asked if the building was unauthorised, Dubey said any action would be taken only after a proper enquiry is done.

A case of causing death by negligence has also been filed with Jafarabad police station.

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