2 children dead, 1man injured, civic body orders probe
New Delhi: Two children died and an elderly person sustained injuries after they were crushed under a four-storey building, which collapsed into rubble here in North Delhi's Sabzi Mandi on Monday as incessant rains complicated the rescue operations, the Delhi Police said.
The deceased, aged eight and 12, were siblings and were passing by the area with their mother when the building fell on them.
There were no residents present inside the building's upper residential floors.
One 75-year-old Ramji Das, who was inside his shop near the building, sustained injuries and was rescued from the debris by the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) team.
As per DFS chief Atul Garg, after Das was pulled out alive, cranes were called in to remove the debris when it was suspected that at least two more persons could be under the rubble.
The police have said more people are feared to be trapped and the rescue operations would continue today. The operation was suspended around 10 pm on Monday with fire officials and one fire tender on standby for the night. After the two children were recovered by DFS and police officials in a several hours long operation amidst heavy rain, they were subsequently sent to a nearby hospital where they were declared dead on arrival.
Moreover, in addition to locals assisting the officials in the rescue operation, a canine squad was also deployed to find more persons suspected to be buried inside the rubble.
Locals allege illegal construction
As per locals, the ground floor of the building, which housed two shops, was undergoing renovation work without proper safety precautions.
North MCD Commissioner Sanjay Goel said the reason behind the collapse will be thoroughly probed.
Himantika Aneja, a resident of the collapsed building who was at her office nearby when the incident took place, said the shop owner on the ground floor was doing levelling work and misusing equipment.
"We had advised him that professional help should be taken for the construction...but he ignored our grievance and continued with the work," she said.
Significantly, the North MCD had identified 699 risky structures in its pre-monsoon survey this year. Of these risk-prone structures, 20 were in the Malkaganj ward, nine of which were on the same road where the building collapsed on Monday but curiously, the building in question was left out of the list, with officials claiming that it was not deemed dangerous at the time.
Police officials have said that an unnamed FIR has been lodged under IPC section 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 288 (Negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
CM Arvind Kejriwal expressed his anguish after the accident and said he was personally monitoring relief and rescue efforts even as L-G Anil Baijal condoled the accident and called for necessary steps to prevent such accidents in the future.
Hours after the collapse, the North MCD ordered a probe into the incident and decided to reassess the condition of all dangerous buildings across its six zones.