Wall of illegal complex collapses in heavy rain in Mangalore, four killed

Staff Correspondent
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Heavy rain since Monday morning left four persons dead, brought down or damaged many houses and marooned a few buildings in Mangalore and its suburbs. There were many landslips and at least one incident of cattle being washed away and sea erosion intensified.

In the city, four persons, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed, and six others injured when a portion of a compound wall of an illegal commercial complex collapsed in the wee hours of Monday on the houses of Leelavathi and Shekhar of a Dalit colony at Bajpe. Eighteen families live in 12 houses on the banks of Tottiluguri stream here. A mass of earth caved in on a construction site, damaging a house nearby in Attavar. No one was injured. A primary school was surrounded by water in Hoigebazar area. The city received 140.5 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours ended 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday, while district average was 114 mm.

In Bajpe, all the four persons died on the spot as they were buried in the rubble. Those who died are Leelavathi’s brother Sundara (50), and her sisters-in-law Baby (55), and Sundari (45) and Chitra (13), an orphan staying in Leelavathi’s house. Among the six injured are Leelavathi and Shekhar, who sustained a head injury. They are being treated at the Government Wenlock Hospital.

Residents said that rescue operations where hampered by electric shocks from the electrified environs. “We did not venture further and called for the fire brigade,” said Ganesh, a neighbour.

He said around 5.30 a.m., they moved the injured to the hospital. Four deceased persons were trapped in the rubble of Leelavathi’s house. Their bodies were extricated later.

As many as 18 families have been staying in the locality for more than four decades in tiled-roof houses built under the Ashraya Scheme. The majority of the families have title deeds. These houses are in a row and are built next to the compound wall of a commercial complex, which has come up illegally on the government land.

Shekhar said he was among those who had gone to Leelavathi’s house Monday night to watch TV when it was raining incessantly. Leelavathi’s house was the only one to have a cable connection, he said.

After a while, Shekhar, whose house is next to Leelavathi’s, and a few others returned to their homes.

Around 4 a.m., Shekhar woke up hearing a sound and being hit by a portion of tiled roof. “I quickly got up and the whole wall came down,” he said.

With an injured head, Mr. Shekhar walked up though a slippery narrow road leading to the main road to call people. “I sat in a restaurant, while people rushed to the spot.”

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