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Building collapse in Delhi: Structure tilted year ago, no one paid heed

Locals said the ‘tilted’ building had leaned against a dried tree. Heavy rain in the past four days caused the dead tree to fall on Wednesday, immediately after which the tilted building came crashing down.

delhi Updated: Sep 27, 2018 10:27 IST
Karn Pratap Singh  and Vibha Sharma
Karn Pratap Singh and Vibha Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Building Collapse in Delhi,Delhi Building Collapse,Building collapses Sawan Park in Delhi
Members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) search for victims after a building collapsed in New Delhi on September 26, 2018. (AFP)

Seven people, including four children, were killed and five others were injured, one of them critically, after a five-storey building collapsed on an adjacent building in northwest Delhi’s Sawan Park near Ashok Vihar Phase-3 on Wednesday morning.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced compensation for the affected families and ordered a magisterial probe into the incident – which comes two months after a twin building collapse at Shahberi village in nearby NCR town Greater Noida killed nine people.

Locals said around 25 people from four families were living in the top three floors of the building. Local residents and police said the building had become weak and had been ‘tilting dangerously’ for more than a year.

A shop operated from the ground floor but was shut at the time of the collapse.The first floor was lying unoccupied after the family living there vacated it 20 days ago due to the building’s dangerous condition.

Locals said the ‘tilted’ building had leaned against a dried tree. Heavy rain in the past four days caused the dead tree to fall on Wednesday, immediately after which the tilted building came crashing down on a four-storey building on the opposite side.

A portion of the second building collapsed due to the impact but all its occupants were unhurt.

Ravi Gupta, the brother of ground-floor owner Sanjeev Gupta, alleged that the North Delhi Municipal Corporation had been intimated about the dangerously ‘tilting’ building a year ago.

Some residents claimed municipal staff had carried out a survey 20 days ago and had asked the occupants to vacate the building. The owners of the top three floors — identified by police as Dharmendra, a builder, his business partner Sachin and his father — were directed to repair the building.

However, a north municipal corporation spokesperson said, “No complaint was received about the building. Yet, we did a survey before monsoon and found no cracks. We have ordered an enquiry, and the report will be submitted within two days.”

Deputy commissioner of police (northwest) Aslam Khan said a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder had been registered against Dharmendra, Sachin and his father. “All of them are absconding,” she added.

Chief fire officer Atul Garg said the building came down around 9am and 35 firefighters, seven fire tenders and rescue vehicles, were rushed to the site. Two teams of the national disaster response force, with sniffer dogs, were pressed into service . The dead were identified as Seema, 25, her two children Aashi and Shaurya, aged 3 and 2, Sumnesh Kumar, 12, his brother Rajnesh Kumar, 4, Munni, 40 and Laxmant, 25.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 01:45 IST