The death toll in factory building collapse today rose to 10 even as 63 trapped workers were rescued during a joint rescue operation that virtually continued on a snail's pace during Monday night due to lack of coordination and shortage of equipment, including searchlights.
Four bodies were dug out by the rescue teams while three more persons were pulled out alive on Tuesday morning.
The four-storey building of Shital Fibers in the Focal Point area of Jalandhar had collapsed on Sunday night, trapping scores of workers.
Senior police and administration official vanished from the spot on Monday night. Despite repeated requests from rescue teams, including those of National Disaster Rescue Force for arrangement of ample floodlights to carry out rescue operating in the dark, no appropriate arrangements were made, leading to slow pace of rescue efforts on April 16-17 night.
Even local MLA Manoranjan Kalia, who reached the spot late Monday evening, instructed the district administration on phone to arrange ample equipment, including cranes, to clear the debris, but to no avail. No cranes were made available to the rescue teams till Tuesday morning.
After carrying out rescue operation manually in the early morning on Tuesday amid drizzle, the joint rescue operation by NDRF, Army, Punjab Armed Police (PAP) and volunteers of Dera Sacha Sauda of Sirsa picked up pace when cranes, JCB machines and gas cutters were pressed into service.
On the possible number of trapped persons, a senior district official revealed that wire cameras pressed into service by army under the debris, it was estimated that 60 to 70 persons were still trapped under the debris. The number could be high as the cameras could not penetrate certain areas of the rubble.
A migrant factory worker Krishna revealed that since it was off-season, 300 to 400 workers worked in a shift in the factory, adding that more than 1,000 workers worked in the factory round the clock during winter seasons.