A 35-year-old construction worker died after a five-storey under-construction building collapsed in Ghaziabad’s Misal Garhi Sunday afternoon — five days after a similar incident claimed nine lives in Shahberi village, 15 km away. This, despite a demolition order and several notices being issued to the builder of the unauthorised building in Ghaziabad since November 2017, officials said.
Police have registered an FIR against land owner, builder Mukesh Singh along with other partners of the firm, unnamed persons, and the contractor, following a complaint by an engineer of the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA).
Four teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), along with local police, are conducting the rescue operation. “Of the 10 estimated people in the building, one is dead, eight have been rescued while a six-year-old boy is missing. Barring the three children, all were construction workers living inside,” said P K Srivastava, Commandant, NDRF.
The notice was issued last year to builders and contractors since the building plan was not submitted to GDA for approval. “Several notices were issued thereafter. A few weeks ago, a demolition order had been given,” said Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ritu Maheshwari.
The Indian Express has learnt that a date for its demolition had also been fixed. But the “unavailability of resources led to work not being carried out,” said the DM. “Builders and owners did not demolish the structure on their own despite notices and warnings, a demolition order was issued and a date had been fixed.”
Kaushal (30), an eyewitness working at a nearby building, said, “At 2.20 pm, it all came down in front of my eyes in under a minute… I could hear screams.” She claimed the building was being constructed for over eight months.
Senior government officials, including the DM and Ghaziabad SSP Vaibhav Krishna, rushed to the spot. “Prima facie, it seems low-quality construction material was used and there was waterlogging. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered,” said the DM.
An inquiry under the Meerut Commissioner has also been ordered by the UP CM, and his office has announced a Rs 2 lakh compensation for the deceased’s family, and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Following the Shahberi collapse, a report on unauthorised buildings had to be submitted within three days to the DM – but is still awaited. “Four teams comprising officials had also been constituted to look into four illegal colonies in Ghaziabad,” said Maheshwari.