India: Kanpur building collapse Kills 3 and many trapped

KANPUR: At least three people were dead and several others were trapped after an under-construction multi-storey building collapsed in Kanpur’s Jajmau area.

A rescue operation involving the Army, National Disaster Response Force, police as well as fire and emergency services personnel is underway. Around 40 people are still trapped at the site, Kanpur District Magistrate Kaushal Raj said.

Officials said labourers were working on the sixth floor of the building being constructed by Samajwadi Party leader Mehtab Alam when the incident took place. “About 12 people have been rescued from the debris and are being treated at a local hospital. Sources also said the condition of the few injured workers is serious and the toll is expected to rise.

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The incident happened in the afternoon hours of Wednesday. Volunteers of Civil Defence responded to the distress call and were at the spot within minutes of the incident.

The victims also include the family members of the daily-wage labourers staying in the under-construction multi-storey building.

A major portion of a building adjacent to the ill-fated building also collapsed following which a couple of empty vehicles parked there were also crushed.

Officials sources informed that the building reportedly belonged to SP leader Mehtab Alam. “Alam had contested on SP ticket in Assembly elections of 2007. He also held a post of City (Kanpur) president of Samajwadi Party,” said the sources.

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The exact cause of the collapse was yet to be ascertained but the officials said preliminary reports indicated that substandard construction materials were used and the structure buckled under its own weight. The locality is dotted with several such multi-storeyed buildings, besides tannery units.

Locals, along with Civil Defence volunteers and police, took charge of the initial rescue operation. However, as JCB and other heavy machinery could not be used to remove the debris because people were trapped inside the rubble, the Police, Fire department, Army and NDRF were called in.

Saif Khan, a local resident, told TOI he heard a loud crash and a huge column of dust on the ground and it took him a few moments to realise that the under-construction multi-storey building next to his home had come crashing down.
 The DM, Kaushal Raj Sharma, said that as of now three deaths were confirmed while the condition of one other injured was stated to be serious. The rescue work was on to pull out survivors and the injured around a dozen in number have been admitted to Kanshiram Trauma Centre, he added.
 At the Kanshiram Trauma Centre, the Emergency ward was flooded with injured. As the patients started pouring in, doctors and nursing staff manning the casualty remained busy attending to them.