Two labourers employed to raze a private building situated in the heart of the city, died after being hit on the head by the awning and a few bricks that fell during demolition, while a colleagues of theirs was seriously injured here on Monday morning.
The deceased have been identified as Pamma, 30, and Sona, 30, residents of Fatahpur village. Three other labourers suffered injuries. They are Sahib Singh, Kaka and Surinder Pal, all residents of Fatahpur village. Sources said the building located in Maha Singh Gate area was a three-storey structure and belonged to Amarjit Singh, a local.
They said that as compared to other century-old buildings that dot various nooks and corners of the walled city area, this edifice was not as old and used to house commercial establishments.
Officials of the municipal town planning (MTP) wing of the Amritsar municipal corporation said it was being demolished to pave way for a new commercial complex.
Fire officer Raj Anthony said fire tenders were rushed to the spot. "All injured were immediately shifted to hospital," he said. MC officials claimed that the owner had not sounded them about the demolition.
The incident has brought back unpleasant memories of the deaths that took place last year when nine old and unsafe buildings in the walled city area collapsed after being lashed by heavy rain. Five people were killed in these incidents.
Deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal had suggested that the MC conduct a survey of the unsafe old buildings in the city. However, the MC had been lax in the implementation of the deputy commissioner's suggestion. Municipal town planner Des Raj said the building was relatively safer than other old buildings and was razed to pave way for a new market.
"The building was not more than 50 years old and was absolutely safe. The MC was not intimated about the owner's plans to raze the structure. The owner undertook the demolition on his own," he said, adding that the MTP department had deployed the staff to raze the remaining structure and remove the debris.
Inspector Dilbagh Singh, SHO, Kotwali police station, said the matter was being probed. No case had been registered till the filing of this report.