Greater Noida building collapse: The death toll in the twin building collapse at Greater Noida’s Shahberi village mounted to nine this morning with the recovery of one more body from the debris, news agency ANI reported. The deceased persons also include an infant. According to reports, several people are still feared trapped under the rubble of the buildings that collapsed on Tuesday night between 8:45 pm and 9 pm.
The tragedy occurred when an under-construction six-storey building collapsed on an adjacent four-storey building in which a family had shifted recently. As soon as the NDRF learned about the tragedy, they rushed to the collapse site and launched the rescue operation. According to NDRF, the mobile team had reached the spot first and later more teams were pressed into service. However, the rescue operation was delayed due to poor visibility and narrow lanes in the area.
Locals have alleged that there has been a flurry of illegal construction in the area and that the authorities turned a blind eye to it. Several buildings in the area have come up without necessary approvals from authorities, they said. According to reports, two formal complaints were lodged with separate authorities in this regard but the officials did not act. The area has seen several buildings come up in the narrow bylanes which, locals allege, have not received any clearance from authorities. The builders, emboldened by the lack of action by the administration, then go on to use inferior construction material which has eventually led to the tragedy this week.
Greater Noida building collapse: Top Developments
1. The Uttar Pradesh government has suspended senior Greater Noida officials including city Project Manager VP Singh and Assistant Project Manager Abbas Zaidi. Gautam Budh Nagar District Magistrate Brajesh Narayan Singh informed that ADM (Administration) Kumar Vineet has been asked to probe the incident and submit the report within 15 days.
2. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who took cognisance of the incident on Tuesday night itself, has directed Gautam Budh Nagar DM to monitor the relief and rescue operations and extend all possible help to the victims. He was briefed by Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh about the operations being carried out by the teams of NDRF and local police. The CM has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh for the next of the kin of deceased in the tragedy and Rs 50,000 for those injured.
3. The police informed that four persons have been arrested in connection with the tragedy. The arrested persons include builder Ganga Prasad Dwivedi and two of his associates who have been identified as Dinesh and Sanjay. “Four people have been arrested and an investigation is underway. Both criminal and administrative aspects will be investigated. I have set up a magisterial inquiry under ADM executive and have given them time of 15 days,” BN Singh, DM of Gautam Budh Nagar, told ANI.
4. Also, an FIR was filed against 18 people on Wednesday at the Bisrakh police station. They have been booked under the Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings), 388 (extortion by threat of accusation of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees).
5. Locals say that the construction was illegal and that they have been raising the issue of illegal constructions in the vicinity with the administration for long. A resident said that fear has gripped the villagers living around the collapsed structures. Another villager said that till 2002, there was hardly any market and connectivity in the village but now the area is densely populated, several multi-storey buildings and has a furniture market. Narayan Dubey, a resident, said that his family was having dinner when the earth shook. He said that they initially thought it was an earthquake but when they rushed outside, they realised that two buildings have collapsed.
6. According to officials involved in the rescue operations, an under-construction building collapsed on another four-storey building apparently due to excess moisture in the walls of the basement and poor material being used for construction. “There was too much of moisture in the walls of the basement of the collapsed buildings. The construction material was of poor quality,” an official told news agency IANS.
7. Union Minister and local MP Mahesh Sharma on Tuesday night visited the incident site to take stock of the situation. He said that the priority is to save pull out people who are trapped under the debris. Sharma informed that a probe has been ordered into the tragedy. “”
8. Pankaj Singh, MLA from Noida, said that strict action will be taken against those involved in illegal constructions in the city. Singh who is the son of Union Minister Rajnath Singh assured that accountability will be fixed and officials who are violating the rules will be brought to the book. “It is unfortunate. Illegal construction should be stopped and strict action should be taken against those responsible. Officers who overlooked everything should be held responsible and strict action should be taken against them too.”
9. Six of the deceased have been identified. There is Priyanka Dwivedi (26) of Mainpuri; Shamshad (25) of Faizabad; Ranjeet Bhimali (30) from West Bengal; Raj Kumar (50), Shiv Trivedi (28) and Pankhuri of just 14 months. According to estimates given by neighbours, at least 20 persons are still feared trapped inside. A NDRF official said that based on the operation conducted with the help of sniffer dogs, hances of anybody surviving under the concrete debris were slim as more than 36 hours have passed.