Six women dead, four injured in cave-in at construction site in Ooty

The incident occurred at the site of the construction of a private bungalow; an abandoned public toilet on the cliff is said to have collapsed on the workers; rescue operations are ongoing

February 07, 2024 02:14 pm | Updated February 08, 2024 02:27 am IST - UDHAGAMANDALAM

An earthmover was used to rescue seven of the workers, while eight others are still trapped under the debris at the construction site in Udhagamandalam

An earthmover was used to rescue seven of the workers, while eight others are still trapped under the debris at the construction site in Udhagamandalam | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

Six workers died and four others were seriously injured on Wednesday when a wall that was allegedly being built illegally collapsed on them at the construction site of a private bungalow at Gandhi Nagar near Lovedale in Udhagamandalam.

The deceased were identified as B. Baakiyalakshmi, 40; S. Shakeela, 30; S. Radha, 38; S. Sangeetha, 38, all from Mel Gandhi Nagar; and S. Muthulakshmi, 40; and V. Uma, 35, from Mel Thalaiyattimund.

According to police, all ten persons were involved in the construction of a revetment wall around the half-constructed bungalow, belonging to Jacob Frijo, using an earth excavator. They were sitting under an overhanging cliff adjoining the private property and having tea when a public toilet on top of the cliff and a section of the slope on which it was built caved-in, burying all of them under the rubble.

Fire and rescue service personnel, along with the local police, retrieved the bodies of the six deceased persons and rescued four others — Shanthi, 54; Jayanthi, 56; Thomas, 24; and Mukesh, 23. They are said to be in a stable condition at the Udhagamandalam Government Medical College and Hospital.

P. Egaraj, Udhagamandalam Municipal Commissioner, told The Hindu that the property-owners had obtained permission for constructing the building but not the retaining wall. “We will seal the property due to violation of building rules,” he added.

In the evening, kin of the deceased and the injured staged a protest outside Udhagamandalam Collector’s office, demanding the arrest of the builder of the property.

Nilgiris Collector M. Aruna inspected the site of the cave-in. P. Sundaravadivel, Nilgiris District Superintendent of Police, said Mr. Frijo, had been arrested and charged under Section 304A (Causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin condoled the deaths and announced a solatium of ₹2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, and ₹50,000 to the four injured persons.

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