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Missing family had moved 4 days ago into Greater Noida building that collapsed

Sources said many labourers who were engaged in applying finishing touches to the building, such as plastering its walls, may still be buried under the debris. A few guards were also feared killed in the incident.

noida Updated: Jul 18, 2018 15:22 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times, Greater Noida
Greater Noida,Missing family,Apartment
Rescue workers look for survivors amid rubble at the site of a collapsed residential building at Shah Beri village in Greater Noida, on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Fifteen hours after two buildings collapsed in Greater Noida’s Shahberi village, National Disaster Response Force personnel and local police teams continued to dig through the rubble in search of labourers and a family of four on Wednesday.

Three bodies had already been recovered by early that morning.

Police said the family, which had arrived at the apartment on Saturday, comprised 24-year-old Shiv Kumar Trivedi, his mother, niece and sister-in-law. They hail from Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh.

“They were staying in a fourth-floor apartment of the newly constructed building. We have expedited rescue work to search for them as well as other victims who are yet to be identified. We should be able to complete the rescue operation by Thursday morning,” said Prashant Kumar, additional director general of police (Meerut zone).

Trivedi, an operations manager at a Noida company, had completed the formalities for acquiring the apartment in April and shifted there on July 14. His relatives came to attend a get-together of family and friends organised that very day.

“I remember asking Shiv to wait till others had moved into the building too. But he said there was no problem as the structure was strong and approved (by the authorities),” said Neha Senger, a friend residing in Noida.

Senger had attended the get-together, and then returned to visit the family on Saturday. “Shiv’s mother and bhabhi were very proud of him because he had bought this flat, costing Rs 22 lakh, at such a young age. His brother was here too, but he left before the incident occurred. I wonder where all these officials, mediapersons and policemen were while the building was being built. This system has killed a family,” she lamented.

Trivedi held an MBA degree from a private institute in Mathura.

Police have taken four people into custody in connection with the incident. “We have arrested a builder – Gangasharan Dwivedi – and three brokers, and filed an FIR under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code against unknown people. A probe is underway, and we are still identifying others involved in the construction work,” said Gautam Budh Nagar senior superintendent of police Ajaypal Sharma.

Sources said many labourers who were engaged in applying finishing touches to the building, such as plastering its walls, may still be buried under the debris. A few guards were also feared killed in the incident.

It was with horror that Ankit Kumar, who lives in a single-storeyed house next to the collapsed structures, recounted the tragic events from the previous night. “I was sleeping on the terrace of my house when I heard a noise around 10 pm,” he said. “Even as I watched, the semi-constructed building sank a few feet into the ground and collapsed onto the adjacent structure. Then the dust rose, and I could not see anything for a while.”

Experts believe there are more disasters of the kind waiting to happen, unless timely action is taken.

As many as 150 hectares of land have come under unauthorised construction in Shahberi alone, mostly because lower middle class families who move to urban centres are lured by the relatively low rates offered by unscrupulous builders.

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 13:32 IST