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Pune wall collapse: builders remanded to police custody

The site of the wall collapse in Bada Talab Masjid locality in Kondhwa area, Pune on June 30, 2019.

The site of the wall collapse in Bada Talab Masjid locality in Kondhwa area, Pune on June 30, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Mandar Tannu

Labour activist blames civic body for passing buck on question of workers’ safety

A local court on Sunday remanded two builders, arrested in connection with the wall collapse in Kondhwa on Saturday, to police custody till June 2. Vivek Agarwal and Vipul Agarwal are partners of the firm, Alcon Landmark.

Nine labourers, four minors, and two women were killed after a section of the retaining wall of Alcon Stylus housing society crashed onto their makeshift hutments adjoining the wall.

 

The police booked 15 persons, including the developers of Alcon Stylus housing society, Jagdish Agarwal, Rajesh Agarwal, and Sachin Agarwal, the two builders, the site engineer, contractor, and the supervisor, under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The FIR also had the names of Pankaj Vohra, Suresh Shah and Rashmikant Gandhi, the developers of Kanchan Royal Exotica project — the adjoining construction site where the labourers were working.

All the deceased hailed from Bihar’s Katihar district. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased, while Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced an ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh.

While incessant rain is said to have caused the wall to crumble, residents of Alcon Stylus said the wall was in need of urgent repair and that the builders had allegedly ignored the danger despite society members drawing attention to it.

 

The incident has brought into focus the appalling living conditions of labourers’ and disregard for their safety on construction sites.

“The problem begins right from the recruitment of inefficient labour officers, who are clueless about safety measures for labourers. On an average, at least one death occurs each day at construction sites across the city,” said labour activist Jayant Shinde, who heads Bandhkaam Kamgar Sena.

Mr. Shinde, who has been fighting to ensure basic amenities for labourers besides helping them economically, blames both builders and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for passing the buck on the question of workers’ safety.

“While builders are to be blamed for failing to ensure proper safety gear for labourers, the PMC, too, has evaded its responsibilities in ensuring that migrant labourers get registered,” Mr. Shinde said. The Bandhkaam Kamgar Sena has helped more than 8,000 labourers get registered with the Labour Welfare Board.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 6:23:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pune-wall-collapse-builders-remanded-to-police-custody/article28235337.ece

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