The tragic incident at a construction site in Pangappara, where land caved in killing four workers, raises questions of workers’ safety as well as unsafe methods used for carving out land, throwing all caution to the wind. The way the excavation has been done at the site shows there has hardly been any concern for the safety of the workers or of the residents staying in houses adjacent to the site.
The site, for a 19-storeyed apartment complex, is located at an area much below the adjacent houses. The excavation of land has been done right up to the edge of the plot. The land has been carved out vertically. Four houses, situated in the adjacent hill, are thus perched precariously at the tip of the area, from where the land caved in.
On Monday afternoon, there was talk among the police personnel who visited the area on the need to shift those staying in these houses, as further caving in of land cannot be ruled out.
The apartment project is being executed by the Kerala Land Reforms Cooperative Society, a Kozhikode-based society for land development and construction of residential and commercial buildings for private and government agencies. According to its website, the Pangappara project titled ‘Capital Hill’ comprises a mix of “exclusively designed 223 apartments of 2 and 3 BHKs.”
There have been quite a few cases in the city in recent times of land being excavated indiscriminately for housing projects, causing danger to houses situated adjacent to it.
“We have carried out excavation only after leaving the stipulated distance from the nearby houses. It was being done under the supervision of a team of engineers. They had gone for lunch when the incident happened. No one noticed that the mud was damp inside,” said an official of the society.
District Collector S. Venkatesapathy said that an inquiry would be conducted at the site by a PWD team on Tuesday. The families of the deceased will be contacted for their bodies to be taken to their native places on Tuesday. The Corporation Engineer on Monday evening called for the company officials to produce the sketch of the site.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that adequate compensation should be given to the families of the workers. He also demanded action against those responsible for those who are illegally carrying out excavation of hills without taking care of safety norms.
C. Divakaran, MLA, said that the government should intervene urgently to ensure that more deaths do not happen in the construction sector owing to lack of safety measures.