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Nine persons were killed when a slab of an under-construction building collapsed in Balewadi area in the city on Friday. According to police, the victims were working on the 13th floor of the under-construction residential building when the cement slab caved in.
The incident happened at Park Xpress, a project being developed by Shrinivas Pride Purple Properties with Arvind Jain, Shravan Agarwal, Shamkant Wani and Kailas Wani as partners. Pradeep Kosumbikar is the architect of the building.
Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials confirmed that the builder did not have permission to build the 13th floor. A board displayed at the site showed that the plan was to construct 11 floors, excluding the basement and parking.
Additional Commissioner of Police (North Region) Shashikant Shinde said, “The building is under construction and 13 workers were working on the 13th floor when the concrete slab caved in. Of these, four moved away from the slab and saved themselves, while nine fell off. Eight died on the spot. one of the injured was rushed to the hospital but died while being treated at a hospital in Aundh.”
Those killed have been identified as Vasant Saha, Shravan Saha, Munna Saha, Bipin Thakur, Lakhan Saha, Varun Saha, Vijay Pasvan and Tufan Saha — all hailing from various districts of Bihar and West Bengal.
Mahtab Khan, a construction worker, an eyewitness to the accident, said he was at the adjacent building and heard a loud thud at about 10.15 am, after which several people rushed towards the spot to check what had happened.
“By the time, I could climb down six floors of the building where I was working and rush to the gate of the building where the slab had collapsed, I saw people wrapping the dead bodies in sheets. They were all dead,” said Khan.
After the fall from the topmost floor, the men reportedly hit the metal railings of the first floor balcony with such a huge impact that the balcony railings were badly mangled. Presence of large stones with sharp and pointed edges seemed to have diminished the chances of survival of these men.
Soon after the incident, police, fire fighters and jawans of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) reached the site. “We rushed to the spot after getting primary information that there was a building collapse. However, there was not much for us to do as there were no survivors trapped,” said Sachidanand Gawade, Deputy Commandant, NDRF.
“We are gathering as much information about the incident as possible. We are also finding out what laws have been violated by the builders and are taking a legal opinion on the matter. Once that’s done, we will register a formal offence against those responsible,” said Shashikant Shinde, Additional Commissioner of Police. Later in the day, Pune Police filed an FIR in the case.
“It’s an unfortunate incident. We had given the responsibility of manpower and security to a private contractor who was responsible for looking into these areas. He was directed to meet all the safety norms. Such an incident shouldn’t have happened. But an accident is as accident,” said Rajesh Narang, Sales and Marketing, Pride Purple Group.
On the 13th floor being an illegal construction, he said, they had obtained the permission to build 11 storeys in 2011 and later, an application for 12th and 13th floors was submitted to the PMC. “Officials had visited the site and as per norms, we went ahead with the work,” said Narang. He said the builder will give a financial aid of Rs 2 lakh per victim.
Shinde said that action will be taken against those found guilty. Meanwhile, the Chaturshringi police team started probing the documents and maps related to the site.