The victims and the injured were all farm labourers turned construction workers primarily from two villages – Maruthur near Samayapuram and Manpidimangalam near Manachanallur. In fact, those from Maruthur were all relatives.

Heartrending scenes were witnessed at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital in the city on Thursday evening, where the bodies of the three construction workers killed in the building collapse were kept in the morgue. Apart from parents and children, residents of the villages were also seen wailing.

A few members of the bereaved families said that construction work was an off-season opportunity for these men and women to earn a living. With farming activities grinding to a halt in villages, the labourers had been working with different engineers in the city for the past few months. The inconsolable relatives said that the attractive wage offered by the construction industry has turned into a bait for which the labourers have fallen for. The villages are nearly 10 km away from the city, say the relatives. One of the relatives said that adequate precautionary measure should have been taken before setting up the foundation. The wall of the adjoining old building was very weak and lacked structural stability.

Writhing in pain, labourer Ramesh, who could not move his leg, said that though he had a providential escape, the shocking death of his relatives has left him shattered. Special teams of doctors and paramedical personnel were seen scrambling to tend to the injured. K. Suresh, State vice president, Tamil Nadu AITUC Construction Workers Association, has pleaded for a judicial probe into the incident.