At least 12 people have lost their lives while 20 others were rescued as tragedy struck Indore’s Beleshwar Mahadev temple on Thursday after the roof of an old stepwell collapsed, trapping devotees under the debris. News agency PTI cited Indore Collector Illaiyaraja T to confirm the death of 12 people.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan earlier said that rescue operations were underway and 15 people were evacuated in rescue operations at that time, officials said. The rescue operations which were being carried out in the presence of personnel from the police department, district administration and the SDRF, have ended now.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the incident and said he has spoken to CM Chouhan on the matter.
“Extremely pained by the mishap in Indore. Spoke to CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and took an update on the situation. The State Government is spearheading rescue and relief work at a quick pace. My prayers with all those affected and their families,” he tweeted.
CM Chouhan also tweeted his condolences to the bereaved families. “The news of civilian casualties in the accident in Indore is extremely sad and heart-wrenching. I pray to God to give place to the departed souls at his feet and give strength to the bereaved family members to bear this immense sorrow. Om Shanti,” the CM said.
The Chief Minister further said that the government stands with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakh each to the relatives of the deceased and Rs.50,000 compensation to each of the injured. Proper arrangements have been made for the treatment of the injured, the entire medical expenses will be borne by the state government, he added.
The injured have been rushed to the hospital. Speaking to reporters, Indore Collector Illayaraja said that overcrowding could be a reason for the collapse of the stepwell roof. “So many people assembled near a stepwell to do ‘hawan’. The overcrowding surrounding the stepwell could be the reason that led to collapse of the floor,” he said.
(With agency inputs)