Tarun lied to his brother-in-law Ranjit Bhumali that he had a headache, so he could skip work for two successive days. The lie saved his life. A mason by profession, Tarun was supposed to join Bhumali on July 16-17 to work on an under-construction building which collapsed Tuesday night. He came to know about the incident on Wednesday morning as he rushed to a Noida mortuary. “Twice he persuaded me to join work, but I made excuses. I could well have been dead today,” he said.
His sister and her two sons sat under a tent, waiting for authorities to hand over the body. Bhumali worked for the last one year with a builder who owned the collapsed property and had given him a temporary place to stay.
Near the debris, Ram Trivedi stood for any signs of life, or death. Just four days ago, his family had shifted to the new house in the collapsed structure. “There was a house warming pooja on July 14; we were very excited. I stayed for two days before heading out of the city. My family stayed behind,” said Trivedi. The family lived on the fourth floor.
His wife, one-year-old daughter, mother and brother Shiv were at home when the building collapsed. A lawyer by profession, he said his brother had paid Rs 29 lakh for the house. “I kept calling, no one picked up,” he said. In the course of the day, the bodies of his daughter and mother were found.
Sandesh Kumar, a family friend, said, “When Shiv spoke to the broker, we didn’t seem to have a reason to worry. They were told the area of the building was being developed as a planned gated colony, and they could see the large Mahagun society close to the vicinity. The flat seemed fine, they were told gas and sewage lines would be installed soon.”
The collapse also came as a shock to Deepika, whose family had paid Rs 22 lakh for a flat three months ago, and were scheduled to move into their new home — now reduced to rubble — in two days.