Building collapse: Death toll rises to 6

 The rescue operation was over and the debris clearance work continued till late Sunday evening. On Sunday, it had been observed that as many as five buildings have been damaged after the incident. 

These five buildings are adjacent to the four-storey building that collapse on late Saturday around 9 pm.

The deceased have been identified as Saraswati (35),Beena (45), her daughter Aakansha (12) , Sadama (20) and Omprakash (60) whereas the victims, who survived the incident have been identified as Ravi (30), Madan (34) , Aman(12) , Shyampal (50), Pooja (45), Brijlal (65), Prempal (51) and Hemant (19). According to the local residents, around 10 families used to live in the building and at the time of the incident two families were not present as they were out to celebrate Eid. The owner of the building had rented out the ground floor for commercial use while the upper storeys were used for residential purposes. There was a salon on the ground floor.

Police said: “There was no construction going on at the site but the water board had carried out some work on a sewer in the area that allegedly resulted in the bursting of a water pipe.” 

It was learnt that Delhi Jal Board had initiated the work of laying sewer lines in the area. 

Rather than excavating manually, they used JCB machines three months ago that damaged the base of the building. According to one of the neighbours, he alleged that few days ago he had filed a complained to the concerned department to stop the work as it was loosening the building’s foundation, but to no avail.

A district magistrate had announced and an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the adults killed in the accident and Rs 1 lakh for those of the minors. Meanwhile, a case under the Section 3034 (causing death due to negligence) had been registered against unknown people.

SDMC suspends 3 officials over alleged negligence
 The incident of building collapse in Vishnu Garden, which left five killed and eight injured, has once again exposed the incompetence of the Municipal Corporations of Delhi and the rampant business of illegal constructions mushrooming under their nose.

Amid the tussle between the BJP-ruled SDMC and the Delhi government, inquiry will be conducted about the role of the SDMC Engineers for not taking prompt action in the matter of the illegal construction in this building. 

SDMC Commissioner Puneet Kumar Goel said: “This is an unfortunate incidence. Based on preliminary findings we have taken action against three officials for turning a blind eye towards the illegal construction. The officials are — Executive Engineer AK Meena, Assistant Engineer AK Mittal and Junior Engineer of the ward, Arvind Kumar. All three have been suspended till further order.”
Despite taking responsibility, the officials of the concerned Corporation have been claiming that an addition was made to the fifth floor by the owner which led to the tragedy. 

With anger pouring in from all sections, the South MCD, in order to wash away its hands off the responsibility, has passed the buck to DJB for installing the sewer line that made the foundation of the building weak. The blame-game in the entire incident began with the AAP MLA from Tilak Nagar, Jarnail Singh, holding the SDMC responsible, said that the alleged violation of municipal laws was the reason behind the mishap. “The Municipal Corporation is responsible for this building collapse. Such incidents keep occurring because people violate rules. MCD must conduct a check on these violations,” said Jarnail Singh.

The building, in which one more floor was added without the permission of SDMC, caved in and a part of it toppled on the adjacent single-storey building. The incident has raised serious objections on the credibility of the Corporation as it claims of keeping a check on illegal constructions. 

“It is a combination of incompetence and corruption by the BJP-ruled MCD. The blame-game between AAP-run Delhi government and BJP-ruled MCD will continue and the common man will continue to suffer,” said Leader of Opposition, SDMC, Farhad Suri.

Reacting over the issue, Mayor of the South Corporation, Subhash Arya, said:  “The building department is taking strict actions against unauthorised constructions regularly but local AAP MLAs are creating hurdles resulting in the encouragement of unauthorised constructions and encroachments.”
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