Search and rescue operations were officially called off Friday morning at the site where an 11-storey building collapsed last Saturday at Moulivakkam in Kanchipuram district on the outskirts of Chennai. After a final look under the debris in the morning, officials of Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) and NDRF reached the conclusion that there was no possibility of finding any more survivors or bodies and decided to call off the operation. Kanchipuram district collector K Bhaskaran was briefed accordingly.
One of the two 11-storey towers named Belief, under construction by the Prime Sristi Housing Ltd, collapsed on June 28 during heavy rain. It was the weekly pay day and nearly 100 labourers had gathered there. Some were still working on different floors while many waited on the ground floor when the tower came crashing down. The lucky ones rushed out and escaped, while 88 persons were trapped inside.
TNFRS, which responded to the call, first rescued 12 people within a few hours of the mishap. Afterwards, the NDRF from Arakkonam, 70 km from Chennai, joined them and they pulled out another 15 survivors in the next
two days. Sixty-one persons died in the mishap, including 21 women. Thirty-eight deceased belong to Vizianagaram and Srikakulam in Andhra. The rest are from other areas of Tamil Nadu and Orissa.Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh for each of the victims’ families. Andhra Rural Development and Housing Minister Dr Kimidi Mrunalini, who was deputed to Chennai to coordinate with the families and arrange for transportation and other facilities, said the cheques were handed over to the kin on Friday. The Tamil Nadu government also announced Rs 2 lakh each for the families of victims from Andhra and Orissa. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced Rs 7 lakh each for the families of victims from her state.
It was also decided to demolish the second 11-storey building under construction by the company as it was deemed to be unsafe.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.
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