Chennai

A year on, the nightmare lingers

endless torment:Many residents near the fallen building have been asked to vacate their homes for fear of the second building of the complex collapsing —Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

endless torment:Many residents near the fallen building have been asked to vacate their homes for fear of the second building of the complex collapsing —Photo: G. Krishnaswamy   | Photo Credit: G_Krishnaswamy

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For residents in the vicinity of the Moulivakkam building collapse site, the tragedy still casts a shadow on their lives

In Moulivakkam, near Porur, people still imagine they can hear the low thunderous boom that shook the area when the building collapsed a year ago. That, and the flashing images that keep coming back: the rubble, the bodies, the cries for help.

On June 28, 2014, a multi-storey building under construction on Kundrathur Main Road collapsed after a downpour. “It was a black Saturday, one that all of us want to forget,” says a resident of Rajarajan Nagar in Moulivakkam.

The incident left 61 construction workers from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha dead. A total of 27 workers were rescued after week-long operations by various agencies including National Disaster Response Force from Arakkonam. Among the dead was a resident of Rajarajan Nagar First Street Extension, Ganesan (38), who left behind his wife Mariammal and his three-year-old daughter Punitha.

“It was a nightmare,” says Geetha Kumar, who had booked a flat in the building.  At first, she had thought an earthquake brought their building down, shattering her dreams. Ms. Geetha Kumar is also unhappy about the follow-up. “After initial visits by a few senior government officials, there was hardly any activity here. We keep watching TV news or read newspapers for announcements, but nothing seems to be coming our way,” she said. 

At least three houses have been blocked by the revenue department saying that they lie in the danger zone, and residents have been asked to vacate their houses for fear of the second building of the complex too collapsing. More than 15 residents left the place a year ago, and are yet to return.

“I settled here eight years ago with many dreams. My building was damaged in the accident and it has to be rebuilt,” says A. Kumar, a house owner. Mr. Ganesan stayed in one of the portions of his house and Kumar not only lost his livelihood but also had to borrow money from money lenders to repay his tenants.

Members of the local residents welfare association wanted the administration to announce a date by when they could return to their homes.

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Printable version | Sep 15, 2019 7:30:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-year-on-the-nightmare-lingers/article7359733.ece

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