Under-construction building collapses at Peer Muchalla
Builders, MC officials booked: Even as no one was hurt, nine builders, contractors booked; former councillor, MC officials who gave approvals also included in FIR.punjab Updated: Apr 13, 2018 21:57 IST
A four-storeyed residential building that was under construction at Peer Muchalla in Zirakpur collapsed on Thursday afternoon.
The building named Floral Vista was coming up at Imperial Garden in the area. Police have booked nine builders and contractors associated with the two projects besides the civic body officials who gave the approvals and then councillor Ajaib Singh.
Meanwhile, the Mohali deputy commissioner has marked an inquiry. The incident took place around 12:30pm. The whole building, which had a parking area on the ground floor and 12 flats on three upper floors, came crashing down within seconds.
The district administration pressed into service four JCB machines to remove the debris and ensure that no labourer is trapped inside while seven ambulances were called in to deal with any emergency.
“There is no casualty so far, but our first aim is to ascertain that no one is trapped inside,” said Paramjit Singh, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Dera Bassi, who was supervising the rescue operations till late at night.
Plaster work was reportedly going on in the building and a couple of labourers used to stay on its first floor at night.
Sarvesh Kumar, a labourer, who was the first to see the building tilt before collapsing, said it all happened within seconds. Kumar said cracks had started appearing on the side of the building towards the Ghaggar, leading to rumbling.
“First, the pillar collapsed and then the stairs. Within seconds, the whole building came down,” said another labourer working on an adjacent building.
As the building started to collapse, the bystanders called the police control room at 100, but the number was reportedly not reachable.
“We tried calling the PCR, but could not get through. A person here had a number of an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) posted at Dhakoli, through whom we reported the incident and called for help,” said Kumar.
No arrest so far
The contractor of the building, who was present at the site, allegedly fled as soon as the building started collapsing. Even the office of the builders at the construction site was found locked, though they were seen there in the morning.
According to sources the Imperial Garden project is promoted by Mandeep Singla and Sanjiv Goyal. They had further sold the plots to builders. Flora Vista was being constructed by Praveen and Vinod, who are from Sunam.
Police have booked the four besides other contractors and firm directors — Pawan Goyal, Puspinder Goyal, OP Singla, Suresh Singla and Sunil Aggarwal — under Sections 420 (cheating), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, said the Zirakpur station house officer (SHO) inspector Pawan Kumar.
The FIR also includes then councillor Ajaib Singh besides the then executive officer, superintendent engineer, sub-divisional officer, architect, building inspector and other officials involved in the approvals, without naming them. No arrest was made till the filing of this report.
DC marks inquiry
Mohali deputy commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra has marked an inquiry to the sub-divisional magistrate.
Sources involved in rescue operations said the building was constructed on the Ghaggar riverbed, known for illegal sand mining. “About a decade back, there were up to 12-foot-deep trenches owing to illegal mining in this area. The area was then filled to construct buildings. The way the building collapsed points to the fact that proper foundation was not laid while,” said an official, on the condition of anonymity.
Even Sapra has sought structural stability report of all towers adjacent to the collapsed building in Imperial Garden. There are about a dozen such residential towers where people have started living, raising concern about their safety.
“The construction seems to be of poor quality. The probe will look into it besides probing whether the construction was carried out on reclaimed land. Those responsible will have to face action,” said Sapra.