Four killed, six hurt in Puri building collapse

Four killed, six hurt in Puri building collapse

Structure was being used as lodging for tourists visiting religious town

Four killed, six hurt in Puri building collapse

Four people — two women and two children — were killed and six  injured, a couple of them seriously, when parts of a small old residential building collapsed in Odisha's temple town of Puri early on Sunday morning.

The residential house, reportedly about 200 years old and belonging to a servitor of the Jagannath temple, was being used as a lodging for poor and lower-income-group tourists visiting the religious town.

The deceased and the injured included members of a family from northern Odisha's Balasore district, who had arrived in the coastal town for a trip to the Jagannath temple. Reports from Puri said the old building, which was already in a bad shape, collapsed following heavy rain occurred on Saturday evening.

The incident occurred when the occupants were in deep sleep.Puri district administration officials said the lodging was functioning in the house without a proper licence from the authorities.

“The additional collector and the sub-collector visited the spot on Sunday morning for an on-the-spot inquiry, and action against persons responsible for the accident would be taken once they submit their report,” said a Puri district administration official.  The local police have already detained the owner and caretaker of the building for questioning.

The state government on Sunday morning announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the families of the deceased.  Besides, the government will also bear the medical expenses of the injured persons, who are currently being treated at a local hospital in Puri.

According to sources in Puri, there are many small residential buildings in the popular religious hub which are being used as lodgings for lower-income-group tourists, though they have already been declared unsafe.  The district administration has not taken any action against them.