In yet another instance of an under-construction building collapsing in Bangalore, at least five labourers were injured when the ground floor of a five-storeyed structure caved in at Someshwara Nagar on Monday.
The Fire and Emergency service personnel rushed to the spot and launched operations to clear the debris. The collapse of the ground floor had tilted the upper floors of the structure and endangered the neighbouring buildings, police said.
The building, proposed to house an apartment complex, is situated in a narrow lane in the residential area behind NIMHANS.
Police officials said they are planning to demolish the structure, but would do so only after ensuring that no labourers are trapped under the debris.
Shiva Kumar, a neighbour, said that he came out of his house after hearing a crashing sound followed by cries. “I rushed to the building and saw the pillars had crashed and dust had engulfed the entire area.”
The police are looking out for the owner of the building, Saleem, and the contractor to ascertain the exact number of labourers working there.
Hanumesh, a labourer, said he rushed out soon after the mishap. He also said around 50 labourers were working on the building at that time.
Police say usage of sub-standard material could have led to the mishap.
Even as the Fire Force personnel dig up a tunnel to look for labourers trapped underneath, preliminary inquiry has revealed that the owner had secured permission only for constructing a three-storeyed building.
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has suspended its Executive Engineer and Assistant Executive Engineer of the area, pending an inquiry.
A BBMP team is assisting the fire force personnel in diging a tunnel to search for the people feared to have been trapped. "We have no other option", said a fire force personnel.
The officials pointed out that the building is so weak that they will have to pull it down. "We are asking people in the vicinity to vacate their houses to facilitate the operation", the officials added.
But, the residents have protested against the move. " Where shall we go all of a sudden? The authorities should provide us alternative arrangements", a neighbour, Poornima, said.
The Minister in charge of Bangalore, R. Ramlinga Reddy, visited the spot.