Tamil Nadu

17 killed as wall falls on three houses in Mettupalayam

Fire and Rescue Services personnel at the site of wall collapse in in Nadur village in Mettupalayam taluk of Tamil Nadu on Monday.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel at the site of wall collapse in in Nadur village in Mettupalayam taluk of Tamil Nadu on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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State government announces solatium of ₹4 lakh

Seventeen persons, including three children, were killed in their sleep when three houses collapsed after a compound wall fell on them in Nadur village in Mettupalayam in Coimbatore early on Monday.

The deceased, all casual labourers, belonged to the Scheduled Caste community who had lived in the houses for over 60 years.

The officials and police said following intermittent rain that continued through Sunday night, the compound wall at the rear of textile trader S. Sivasubramaniam’s house in Cooperative Colony fell on the tile-roofed houses of the labourers, killing the inhabitants instantly.

P. Ramasamy, who lives in a house that is a row away from the victims’ houses, said sometime between 4.45 a.m and 5.30 a.m., he had heard a huge noise but did not venture out. . “I thought lightning had struck somewhere close by but I chose not to come out because it was raining and pitch dark outside,” he said.

R. Rathinam, another neighbour, said he got up around 5 a.m., stepped out for a brief while but went back to sleep only to wake up again to the loud noise. “When I stepped out for the second time, I could not see the houses. The lights too were missing and soon I realised something had happened.”

The neighbours who realised extent of the accident could begin searching for survivors only after daybreak. But they could only find bodies amid the rubble of the houses. Rescue personnel and police arrived much later, residents of Nadur said.

Revenue Department officials in Coimbatore and Coimbatore Rural Police personnel identified the deceased as Anandh Kumar, 40, his wife Nathiya,30, and children Akshaya, 7, and Loguram, 7; Arukkani, 50, her mother Chinnammal, 70, sister Rukmani, 40, and children Harisudha, 16, and Mahalakshmi,10; Sivakami, 45, her daughter Vaidegi, 20, her husband Palanisamy's nephew Ramanathan, 20 and niece Nivetha,18, mother Obiammal, 50; Thilagavathi, 50, Gurusamy, 45, and Mangalammal, 60.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services said they pressed into service two fire tenders and the Police had marshalled four earth movers to remove the debris to locate survivors or retrieve bodies.

At the Government Hospital amidst heavy presence of police and a crowd of relatives and neighbours, the doctors completed the grim task of 17 post mortems.

Collector K. Rajamani, Inspector General of Police, West Zone, K. Periaiah, Deputy Inspector of Police, Coimbatore Range, G. Karthikeyan, Superintendent of Police, Coimbatore Rural, Sujit Kumar inspected the spot.

Collector K. Rajamani told journalists that after the district administration had alerted the State government of the tragedy, the government had ordered ₹4 lakh as compensation to be given to the kin of 15 of the deceased (Based on an initial toll). He added that the district administration would take steps to ensure compensation for kin of the two other victims as well.

He added that he had directed the Mettupalayam tehsildar to lodge a complaint with the Mettupalayam Police.

Meanwhile, the Coimbatore Rural Police said the Mettupalayam Police had registered a case against textile trader Sivasubramaniam under Section 304 A (causing death by negligence) and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act (mischief causing damage to property).

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 6:25:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/over-a-dozen-dead-as-three-houses-collapse-in-mettupalayam/article30134920.ece

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