Friday, 4 July 2014

Building collapse: Death toll rises to 61, rescue operations may end tomorrow

Tamil Nadu Government today set up an inquiry commission to probe the collapse of a 11-storey under-construction residential building here in which the death toll has mounted to 61 with no survivors found for the second straight day.

As rescue operations by multiple agencies entered the sixth day, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced that the one-man commission headed by Justice (Retd) R Reghupathy will probe the circumstances leading to the collapse of the building at suburban Porur on June 28.

"The Commission will find out whose ignorant attitude resulted in such a mishap that left many workers dead and others injured and decide on (fixing) those responsible for it," she said in a release.

The rescue team personnel could not find any survivor for the second consecutive day today and pulled out 14 more bodies with the toll mounting to 61 as they indicated the operations might be nearing completion soon.

"As of now, 61 are dead and out of this 41 are men and 20 women," K Kulandaisamy, Director, Public Health told PTI.

The focus of the rescue operations was on reaching a spot - estimated to be around 2,000 square feet in the basement - where 20-25 people were feared trapped, revenue officials said adding they wanted to ensure all survivors were pulled out.

The massive rescue work undertaken by government agencies like the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), state disaster response force, police, fire and rescue services, revenue, public works, health and revenue departments is likely to be wrapped up on Friday evening, on the seventh day after the building collapsed.

More than 1,500 rescue workers, including police personnel who were deployed for crowd management, were involved in the operations.

"There is a general consensus among all agencies involved in the rescue operation that the chance of finding more bodies is very remote. We will have a review meeting at 11am on Friday and take a joint decision," said NDRF commandment M K Verma.

DIG of National Disaster Response Force S P Selvan said the operations were likely to end by tomorrow evening.

"We hope that the rescue work will be fully completed by evening tomorrow," he said.

A total of 27 persons, including eight women, were rescued alive till July 1.

In a related development, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority today commenced inspection of high-rise buildings in the city in the backdrop of the mishap.

Eighteen teams comprising 54 officials from the CMDA inspected eight multi-storeyed and 12 special (high-rise) buildings in various parts of the city, a senior CMDA official said.

Friday 04 July 2014


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