Death toll mounts to seven; at least 23 still trapped under debris

Rescue operations at Dharwad site continue; NDRF team from Ghaziabad arrives

“I was painting the wall and had stopped work to attend a call. And suddenly, the floor caved in and I was trapped under the debris,” said Shivanagouda Naragund, one of the survivors of the under-construction building collapse in Dharwad on Tuesday that has so far claimed seven lives.

He managed to call the mason and communicated his location. Soon, he heard the sound of an earthmover.

“I had heard two other workers crying for help in Hindi. Once the earthmover came near, I shouted to indicate my location and also communicated the location of the other two,” he said. Mr. Shivanagouda has suffered injuries on his back and limbs.

Slow pace of work

The rescue operations at the building collapse site might take longer than expected as it has to be planned meticulously and carried out cautiously, said Director-General of Police of Fire and Emergency Services and SDRF M.N. Reddy.

Mr. Reddy, who held inspections at the site and monitored the rescue operations on Wednesday, said while 28 persons were rescued on Tuesday night, 32 more were rescued after the NDRF (National Disaster Relief Force) and SDRF (State Disaster Relief Force) teams arrived. But several more are feared trapped under the debris and their number is estimated to be around 23. “This is a challenging task as the concrete structure has to be cut. There are several technical aspects involved. The rescue team has to ensure that there is no further collapse during the rescue operation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Regional Commissioner Tushar Girinath who is also administrator of the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) said they have filed a complaint against the building owner and the engineer for faulty design and for using substandard material. “The samples of the debris are being collected and will be sent to a laboratory in Bengaluru to check the quality of the building materials. The magisterial inquiry that has been ordered, will check if there are any lapses on the part of officials for granting partial Completion Certificate and allowing occupancy before completion of the building,” he said.

Mr. Girinath said this incident had come as a shock, and the civic body would frame more stringent guidelines to ensure the stability of the buildings coming up in the twin cities.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:18:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/death-toll-mounts-to-seven-at-least-23-still-trapped-under-debris/article26594504.ece

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