Four kids were killed and seven others critically injured when a pre-school wall collapsed on them in Odisha’s Nayagarh district, about 100 km from Bhubaneshwar on Monday morning.

The tragic incident took place when the children were taking mid-day meal in a dilapidated building on campus of Neilia Upper Primary School under Ranapur block. The wall made of brick and mud was soaked due to continuous rain. Besides, the wall’s contiguity with a pond made it more vulnerable.

“As many as 22 children had attended the pre-school on Monday. Three kids died on the spot. One succumbed to injuries while being rushed to hospital. One seriously injured was referred to SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack. Most of children had sustained head injuries,” said Paresh Mishra, a Samiti Sabhya, who accompanied the injured to capital city.

“An anganwadi centre is supposed to be the safest place after home. In this belief we had sent our kids, who were hardly able to speak, to these centres. They killed my daughter by running the anganwadi centre in an unsafe building,” said Niranjan Sahoo, father of Pinki Sahoo, a four-year-old girl who died on way to hospital.

When asked about the incident, Nayagarh District Collector Sarojkant Choudhury admitted that the anganwadi was being run in an unsafe building. “I don’t know who had given permission to run the anganwadi centre in the unsafe building. We would inquire into the incident in detail. The administration would take care of the treatment expenses,” Mr. Choudhury said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced ex-gratia of Rs. 1 lakh for parents of victims and assured that the treatment cost would be borne by Chief Minister’s Fund.