A five-storey building, which was being illegally, renovated collapsed in Gandhi Nagar in east Delhi, killing three people and injuring five others on Thursday morning.
Police said the building was being used as a garment factory and the owner was illegally constructing another floor.
“The front part of the sixth floor collapsed and hit people on the road below. One of the victims was a rickshaw puller who was standing on the roadside. There were labourers working inside the building but most of them were rescued,” a senior police officer said.
The rickshaw puller has been identified as Umar Mohammed, 35, a native of Lakhimpur in Uttar Pradesh. The other two victims are yet to be identified. The injured are Kapil Pandey, 48, Mohit Pashwan, 20, Ajay, 23, Sarbulla, 17, and Alibulla, 18. They were taken to Hedgewar Hospital. Two of the injured are stated to be in a critical condition.
“Two bodies were taken out from the fifth floor during the rescue operation. Those who were on the ground floor of the building managed to escape,” the officer added.
A case of causing death due to negligence has been registered against the owner of the building, Ashok Jain, 55, who is currently on the run. “I was standing near a shop when I saw the top floor collapsing. I immediately made a PCR call and rushed to start the rescue operation,” Ankit Jain, an eyewitness, said.
The East Delhi municipal corporation said it will set up an inquiry and seal the building on Friday. According to standing committee chairman Mahek Singh, the building was very old and was located in an unauthorised colony that was regularised later. “It was built at a time when there was no sanctioning of building plans or structural safety measures,” said Singh.
The building collapse has happened at a time when the Delhi government has just announced the regularisation of 917 illegal colonies, promising better living standards to the residents.