Concrete structure outside shop in Adambakkam collapses; woman’s son sustains injuries

A 68-year-old woman died and her son was injured early on Tuesday, when the sunshade of a commercial building fell on them, while they were sleeping underneath.

The incident occurred just outside a tailoring shop located inside a large commercial complex at the intersection of Medavakkam Main Road and Vellalar Street in Adambakkam.

According to police P. Andal, a homeless widow and her son, 42-year-old Kumar, were sleeping when around 5.30 a.m., the concrete sunshade above the tailoring shop collapsed. While Andal was crushed underneath the large block, her son escaped with minor injuries.

Andal’s body was taken to Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet for a post-mortem examination. While no one has been held responsible for the incident as yet, an investigation is on and a case under section 174 of the code of criminal procedure has been registered.

The building is about 20 years old and there are about 25 shops in it. The sunshade was already crumbling, and gave way on Tuesday morning, police personnel in Adambakkam said.

A flower vendor, Andal also worked as a domestic help in a number of houses. An employee at a tea stall in the building said that despite her age and frail health, she worked hard to support Kumar, who did a few odd jobs and spent all his money on liquor.

Andal’s family had owned a semi-permanent house along a water channel running parallel to Medavakkam Main Road and draining into Adambakkam Lake.

In November, 2002 the State government launched a massive drive against encroachments along the water channel and demolished several hundred houses and shops, both temporary and permanent.

Andal lost her home during the drive, and since then, had been sleeping on pavements, outside shops and sometimes in some of the partially-demolished houses, abandoned by their owners after the demolition drive, employees at the complex said.

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