Ground caves in near school

Tension gripped a government higher primary school in Hebbal as the soil holding up the building loosened and slipped when BBMP workers dug up the adjoining rajakaluve – or giant stormwater drain.

Panicked staff at 'Nammura Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Patashale', located on the edge of the drain at Manorayanpalaya 3rd Cross, evacuated the 230 students from the building when one of the staff noticed cracks in a classroom and informed the superiors, police said.

Parents and residents in the neighbouring buildings converged on the school premises to see the extent of the collapse. Some of them informed television channels, while local representatives also rushed to the spot having learnt about the emergency.

The BBMP is raising retaining walls on either side of the drain since they were damaged in the recent heavy rains.

"Around three feet of mud caved in when (BBMP workers) dug up the place near the building's foundation to lay the concrete bed," school headmistress Premila told DH. "This panicked the school staff who decided to evacuate the building as a precautionary measure."

BBMP officials piled the caved-in portion with sandbags and filled it with concrete. They assured the school staff that the work near the building would be wrapped up in a couple of days.

Students were immediately shifted to a nearby anganwadi and a music school. "We informed our superiors in the Education Department who made the alternative arrangement for the next couple of days," the school's Cluster Resource Person (CRP) Chalapathi said.

"Some of the students were accommodated at the anganwadi that has four rooms, while the rest were given place at the music school that has a huge hall," he added.

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