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15 feared dead as wall collapses in Pune – The Hindu

At least 15 people, including four children and one woman, are feared dead in an incident of wall collapse in the city’s Kondhwa area that occurred in the wee hours of June 29.

As per early reports, the 20-ft. wall, which belonged to an apartment complex, caved in on the adjoining slum, with shanties and makeshift tin houses mostly inhabited by labourers and their families bearing the brunt of the collapse. The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. in Kondhwa’s Bada Talab Masjid locality. The process of identification of the deceased is on, said authorities.

Fire department officials that three people, who were trapped under the debris were rescued successfully. The number of people injured in the incident, or those who may still be trapped under the debris, is yet to be ascertained.

A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team reached the accident spot to aid in the rescue operations.

“As per reports received, at least 15 persons, including women and children are believed to have been killed in the wall collapse incident. The labourers hailed from Bihar, Odisha and other states. I am continuously monitoring the situation and am rushing from Kolhapur to the spot of the accident,” said senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Pune’s newly-appointed Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil.

Errant builders

Mr. Patil said that a he had instructed the Pune District Collector to set up a committee under the Additional District Collector to probe the incident and take stern action within the next 24 hours against errant builders and contractors who flouted construction rules. Parked cars in the adjoining apartment complex, too, went down as the wall crashed onto the labourers’ tin houses.

“This is an extremely serious issue. The labourers belonged to Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. The negligence of the construction company is coming to light in this tragedy. Strict action will be taken against them,” said Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram.

While stating that an FIR had not yet been lodged against any builder or contractor, Pune Commissioner of Police Dr. K. Venkatesham said that the police was in the process of thoroughly investigating the matter and check whether the concerned builder had adhered to safety norms or not.

The tragedy comes in the backdrop of a city reeling under the onslaught of relentless showers in the past 48 hours.

IMD authorities said that the city received more than 73 mm rainfall between June 27 and June 28, resulting in the almost-continual showers making up for the pre-monsoon deficiency. In fact, the rainfall in the past 24 hours is reportedly the second highest bout of showers to hit the city in June since 2010.

The incident has brought into sharp relief yet again the pressing issue of labourers’ safety measures on construction sites. In October 2017, three labourers were killed and one more seriously injured after the slab of an under-construction building collapsed in Pune’s Dattawadi area. In July 2016, nine labourers were killed on the spot after a slab of an under-construction building collapsed in the city’s Balewadi area. On December 2012, 13 labourers were killed when a slab of an under-construction building caved in at Wagholi, 20 km from the city. Prior to that, in September that same year, six persons were killed on the spot and several more injured after a four-storey residential building caved in the city’s Sahakar Nagar area.

15 feared dead as wall collapses in Pune – The Hindu

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