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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Chennai building collapse: Death toll at 61, rescue operations end
HT Correspondent
Chennai, July 04, 2014
First Published: 09:33 IST(4/7/2014)
Last Updated: 14:54 IST(9/9/2014)

Rescue operations at the site where a 11-storey under-construction building collapsed in Moulivakkam, about 20 km from Chennai, last Saturday killing at least 61 people, concluded on Friday.

The building had collapsed after rains lashed the area and several other parts of the city on Saturday.

Moulivakkam is the catchment area for a lake and Adyar river.

The operation which involved over 1,500 personnel from various agencies, including the elite and well-equipped National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), ended early on Friday morning after six days.

Watch: Rescue ops at Chennai building mishap site to conclude, death toll crosses 60

"There is a general consensus among all agencies involved in the rescue operation that the chance of finding more bodies is very remote," said NDRF commandant MK Verma.

A formal announcement was made in this regard after it was made sure that there was no more possibility of survivors or bodies at the site.

Officials said the mountain of debris was cleared and each and every inch was searched for victims - dead or alive.

A host of machines, earth movers, lorries, ambulances, mortuary vans and other equipment were involved in the rescue work.

Fire service joint director Vijaya Sekaran, Kancheepuram district collector Bhaskaran, chief revenue administration officer Sridhar, Chennai Police commissioner George and other officials were present at the site on Friday to make sure there were no mutilated body parts left behind in the debris.

On Thursday, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa set up a one-man inquiry panel headed by retired judge of Madras high court justice R Reghupathy to probe the incident and submit a report to the government.

Jayalalithaa also announced relief of Rs. 7 lakh each to the family of victims from Tamil Nadu and Rs. 2 lakh each to those from other states.

A total of 16 families around the collapsed site will be issued notice to evacuate as soon as the building adjacent to the collapsed one is declared unsafe and sealed by officials.

Reports said the building may be pulled down after the probe commission submits its report.

Building firm Prime Sristi, which took up the residential project, claimed the mishap occurred due to impact of thunder. The building was being constructed by a Madurai-based builder.

Police have detained four people for negligence in the case.


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