Three persons died and one was injured when a wall of mud and dirt collapsed on a group of labourers at a construction site in Southwest Delhi’s Dwarka Sector 6 on Friday morning.
Officials at Delhi Fire Services (DFS) said they received a call around 11.40 am on Thursday about the collapse. Several labourers were feared to be trapped under tons of mud after a wall of an under-construction hospital caved in on them while they were working 20 metres below on the site.
“Tons of mud and dirt collapsed on nine workers who were working at the site. Five of them escaped just in time. Four of them, however, were trapped. Personnel from the Fire Services, National Disaster Management, MCD and police began rescue operations. Three of the men were rescued and rushed to DDU hospital,” said Sanjay Tomar, Divisional Officer of DFS said at 2 pm on Friday.
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By evening, the three labourers, identified as Jitendra (26), Gulzar (25) and Santosh (26), died in hospital. The fourth man, 22-year-old Ali Hassan ,was later rescued and is being treated.
“We have registered a case under sections 304 (a) (death due to negligence) and 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings) of the IPC. We will be arresting the owner of the construction company, S S Construction, which the private hospital had hired,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) R A Sanjeev said.
S S Construction had been constructing a second building at the Sector 6 site. It had hired around 100 labourers to work on the Friday morning shift from 8 am to 5 pm. Officials at the site said a 20-metre deep ditch was dug and the basement of the building, meant for an underground car park, was being laid.
“Usually, when such a deep pit is dug, temporary walls, pillars and stilts are erected against the soil face to keep the soil from collapsing. However, there were no pillars erected against the walls and the labourers working below were taken unawares,” a DFS official said.
Raj Kumar, a labourer who escaped the site at the time of the accident, said, “We were working when we heard a deafening noise. We turned to see a wall of mud raining down on our colleagues. We stopped what we were doing and fled.”