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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Two killed after 50-year-old house collapses in south Delhi’s Okhla

A retired government employee and a labourer were killed after getting trapped under the rubble.

delhi Updated: Nov 25, 2017 00:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
The 50-year-old house was being renovated when it collapsed.
The 50-year-old house was being renovated when it collapsed.(Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

Two men – a retired government official and a mason – were crushed to death on Friday after the 50-year-old house they were living in collapsed during renovation in south Delhi’s Okhla.

It took the rescue workers nearly two hours to could locate the first victim’s body, police said.

The dead men were identified as 65-year-old Dhruv Singh – who retired as a senior officer from the ministry of social justice and welfare and owner of the house – and Kishan Mandal, a labourer in his 30s. One other labourer managed to escape unhurt.

A South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) official said that the building was 50-years-old and but had not been declared dangerous. “This building was old and the owner was demolishing part of the structure for renovation. Our initial survey suggests the building collapsed either due to irregularities in its structural design or caving of foundation due to seepage,” said the SDMC official.

According to a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officer who led the rescue operations, the building was a “disaster waiting to happen”. “The building had no columns or beams. The poor structure also made the operation difficult for us,” said the official.

Though the collapsed house was located a building away from the main road, the incident led to a traffic jam on the Sarai Jullena-Maharani Bagh road throughout the afternoon. The possibility of neighbouring buildings also collapsing added to the tension in the area with curious onlookers occupying much of the road space.

A call about the building collapsing was made around 9.30 am on Friday. Apart from the structural design that made access for rescuers difficult, the presence of a large crowd too hampered operations.

The first body was found at 11.20 am. “It was the labourer’s body that located on the roof of an old Maruti 800 car. The owner’s body was found 40 minutes later in a room in the front portion of the house. He had been crushed by the rubble,” said the NDRF official.

The house owner’s nephew, Yuvraj Kumar, said no one lived in the house. “My house that collapsed was not occupied by anyone for several years. My uncle lived with us in the neighbouring house. One of his sons is a businessman while the other son works in a bank in Mumbai,” said Kumar.

But Singh apparently wanted to build a whole new house in place of the existing one, the nephew said. On Friday, he was overseeing the renovation work when it collapsed.

Earlier on November 9, a building in Jasola Village had to be demolished when it tilted and developed cracks. Locals who witnessed the corporation’s demolition work then had termed it as “unplanned and careless”.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 12:10 IST

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