Deputy Commissioner Deepa Cholan who is monitoring the rescue operation at the commercial building collapse site said on Tuesday that two persons were brought out dead, while 28 persons have been rescued.
She told DH in Dharwad that the district administration had focused on mobilising men and materials to rescue the people trapped under the debris. It is estimated that around 70 people were trapped in the debris and 28 people had been brought out.
The rescue operations were hampered due to darkness and the authorities have installed several high mast lights to help the operations. Additional cranes have also been pressed into service. The Natural Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team of 25 members, which has left Bengaluru by road, will reach Dharwad to help the rescue operations soon, she said.
The Central government has been asked for help and a unit of NRDF from Delhi will be arriving on Wednesday for further assistance. Already, a team of five experts has reached the accident spot.
Police Commissioner M N Nagaraj said prohibitory orders had been clamped under Section 144 of IPC to prevent people from crowding the spot and hindering rescue operations.
HDMC Commissioner Shakeel Ahmed said the HDMC had granted building permission (BP) for construction of G (ground) +3 building, but was doubtful whether the owner had obtained CC (completion certificate).
Local residents said the building caved in because of the construction of the fifth floor, without permission. “The HDMC can give permission for construction of G+3. The owner commenced the construction of fifth floor and that led to the collapse,” they said.
The rescue operations will take several more hours as the rescue teams were not able to remove layers of debris. Deepa said a team will be formed to probe into the accident and those guilty will not be spared.
The complex already has business establishments on its premises. There is medical shop, a restaurant, a computer shop, Ayurvedic clinic and grocery stores. Many customers were present when the building crashed.