At least 11 persons were killed and five injured when two three-storey buildings collapsed in Atladra area of Vadodara early on Wednesday. About 40 more people are feared to be trapped under the debris.
The Army,National Disaster Response Force,and city fire department have been pressed into service to carry out rescue operations.
The superintendent of the government-run Sir Sayajirao General (SSG) Hospital,Dr Deveshwar Pandey,said three women,a six-month-old infant and a 13-year-old boy were among those killed.
The two buildings were part of a housing complex for economically weaker sections (EWS),allotted by the Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA) in 2002.
According to reports,the first building collapsed at about 4:30 am,when most of the occupants were asleep. Half-an-hour later,the building next to it also collapsed. Officials said the second building had been evacuated after the first collapse,saving many lives. Each of the two buildings reportedly housed 14 families.
Ranjanaben Chauhan,one of the survivors,said she had raised an alarm when she noticed that the building was shaking. She said many of the houses were empty as the occupants had left for Janmasthami celebrations.
Residents said they had approached VUDA officials several times in the last two years,after they noticed concrete slabs and roofs of several buildings in the locality were collapsing.
We had submitted several applications to VUDA officials,but they said they were not responsible for the condition of the building, said Gautam Pawar,a resident.
Denying the charges,VUDA chairman N V Patel said,This is not true. However,since I am out of the city today,I will get details from our officials before commenting on the matter.
We are trying to find out whether the buildings collapsed due to criminal negligence or administrative negligence. We will examine the quality of the materials used and will find the contractors and supervisors who were involved in the construction of the buildings, said Police Commissioner Satish Sharma.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi,who tweeted about the incident in the morning,announced the constitution of a high-level committee headed by retired chief secretary Manjula Subramaniam to probe the incident.
State Finance Minister Nitin Patel,who visited the spot,said the state government will give Rs 2 lakh compensation to the families of each of the victims. Our first priority is to rescue the trapped. We will set up an inquiry to establish the crime and action will be taken accordingly, he said.
(With PTI inputs)
Heard about the collapse of 2 buildings in Vadodara. Rescue operations have begun. My minister colleague Nitinbhai is on his way there.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 28,2013