Dust and dark all around, survivor recalls Bhajanpura building collapse horror
“It was dark and dust all around. I could feel heavy debris on my legs and I couldn’t move,” said Bushra Parveen, 9, a class four student and one of the survivors of the building collapse in Bhajanpura in which four children aged between 9 and 10 years and their 35-year-old tutor died on Saturday afternoon.
“My father and other local residents pulled me and my sister out,” said Bushra, who is admitted in Jag Parvesh hospital for the injuries suffered in her leg and back.
Her father Jumman Ali, who works at a handicraft shop, said his daughters were fortunate that they came out alive of the building. “Before the fire fighters arrived, the locals rescued as many kids as they could. The rescuers arrived in less than half an hour,” said Ali.
Ramesh Kumar, a tailor, lost his nine-year-old son in the incident while his elder daughter, 11, was injured and is admitted to Jag Parvesh hospital for treatment. “My daughter is unconscious. Doctors say she is out of danger and may have lost sense due to trauma. My son, a student of class three was killed because of critical head injuries,” he said.
Kumar said he was at work when he got a call about the building collapse. “I rushed to the house and found that my daughter had been pulled out but my son was yet to be rescued. There were at least 100 rescuers on job and no one was allowed to near the spot. At least after an hour my son was brought out. By the time he reached hospital, he had already died,” he said.
Kumar said he had got his two children enrolled in the tuition centre around 7-8 months ago. “Since we are not educated, I wanted my children to study and do well. My son is no more, I have all hopes from my daughter,” he said.
Asif Mohammed, another local resident, whose niece were injured, in the collapse, said they are sure the construction work was being done illegally. “The building is owned by two brothers. They must have used poor raw material. Police must arrest the accused,” Mohammed said.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal visited Bhajanpura. “I am pained by the tragic death of four students and owner of the coaching institute. An illegal floor was being constructed, which collapsed. Inquiry is being ordered. Guilty shall not be spared. I am sending a proposal for giving a compensation of Rs 10 each to the next of kin of the deceased for approval to the election commission,” he said. The EC’s approval is needed since model code of conduct is in force in Delhi for the February 8 assembly polls.
Anil Baijal, Delhi lieutenant governor, also condoled the deaths of the children. “Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic deaths including those of innocent children during the building collapse in Bhajanpura, East Delhi. May God give strength to their family and loved ones to deal with this tragedy,” he tweeted.
“Have directed all concerned to provide all possible support for the speedy recovery of the injured. Action will be taken against those found guilty of lapses which led to this tragic accident,” the L-G said in a series of tweets.