14 killed, 50 injured as tent collapses during dust storm in Barmer
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot convened an emergency meeting at his office in the Secretariat after the tragedy and ordered an investigation. Teams of State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) have been sent to Barmer from Jaipur, Ajmer and Jodhpur.Updated: Jun 24, 2019 11:40 IST
At least 14 people were killed and over 50 injured when a big tent supported by metal poles collapsed during a dust storm at Jasol in Rajasthan’s Barmer district on Sunday.
Barmer district collector Himanshu Gupta said the tent was erected for a religious programme -- Ram Katha (Lord Ram’s story).
“Prima facie, it appears the 14 people died after the metal poles fell on them... Some people have also died due to electrocution after electricity cables snapped and fell on the poles,” said additional police superintendent Ratan Lal Bhargava. “However, a clear picture will emerge after the post-mortem.”
Barmer’s additional police superintendent, Khinv Singh Bhati, said around 300 people were sitting under the tent when it collapsed because of the dust storm.
The injured were taken to nearby government and private hospitals. Some have been shifted to Jodhpur.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted about the Barmer tent collapse. “Collapse of a pandaal in Rajasthan’s Barmer is unfortunate. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and I wish the injured a quick recovery,” Modi tweeted.
Gehlot said he has directed the concerned officials to probe into the incident. “Officials have been directed to ensure that quick treatment is given to the injured and the family members of the injured should be provided help in every possible manner,” Gehlot tweeted.
Gehlot also announced an inquiry into the incident by jodhpur divisional commissioner BL Kothari and a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to next of kin of each of the deceased persons. A release from CM’s office said the injured will also be given a maximum compensation of Rs 2 lakh each.
Disaster management and relief minister Bhanwar Lal Meghwal blamed the organisers for the tragedy. “There was negligence by the organisers. When they knew that weather has changed, rainfall and dust storm has started then why they did not they get the electricity supply switched off. The action would be taken against those responsible,” he said.
In a purported video circulating on social media, Murlidhar Maharaj, who was reciting the Ram Katha, is seen running for cover when the tent began to shake. He is also seen telling his listeners to leave the tent.
Gehlot convened an emergency meeting at his office after the tragedy struck and ordered a probe into it. Teams of State Disaster Relief Force have been sent to Barmer from Jaipur, Ajmer, and Jodhpur, said Meghwal.