As Delhi-NCR witnessed heavy rain on Thursday, a 12-metre wide road caved in at Ghaziabad’s Vasundhara, forcing around 60 families of a housing society nearby to vacate their homes. The incident comes less than a week after 11 people died in two cases of building collapse in Ghaziabad and Greater Noida, allegedly caused by waterlogging and seepage.
Around 8.30 am on Thursday, Raj Kumar Tiwari, who lives with his wife and two children in Vartalok housing society, heard a loud crashing sound. “Everyone rushed out to see what had happened… the road in front of our building had collapsed. Just half-an-hour before the cave-in, we saw that the road had sunk a little due to the incessant rain. But we never imagined this would happen,” he said.
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Tiwari’s family is among the 60 in four blocks of the housing society that have been asked to vacate their flats till repairs are done. The impact was such that the ground which is part of the society close to the road, caved in as well.
“The road fell 30-35 feet below… so did land within our housing society,” said Tiwari.
Tiwari added that the cave-in took place minutes before a school bus with at least 30 children was to cross the area: “It was just a matter of two minutes. I shudder to think what could have happened.”
Soon after, a team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), along with officials from the administration and local authorities, reached the spot to assess the damage. “No rescue effort was required. But we have advised the administration to vacate around 60 flats in the four blocks of the society. It is now the district administration’s job, but NDRF teams are on standby,” said NDRF Commandant P K Srivastava.
Meanwhile, the District Magistrate issued an advisory asking residents of the locality to ensure that water does not accumulate in the basement. The DM further asked residents of the district to pump out water in case of any waterlogging, to avoid any untoward incident.
Senior government officials and residents said water had started accumulating on the road, as well as on an abandoned construction site across the road, in the last five days.
A senior government official, who did not want to be named, said: “The housing society in Vasundhara was handed to the local municipal body in 2002. They have to take care of roads, drainage and other maintenance work. It seems that the drains meant for rain water had not been cleaned, leading to waterlogging.”
The official added that work at the construction site had been stopped a few years ago.
“Due to a Supreme Court order four-five years ago, construction was stopped. The ground had been dug up for the basement… Over the years, debris and other garbage began accumulating. A few days ago, when there was waterlogging on the road, someone created a diversion from the road to the site — so that water flows the other way. Due to this, rainwater kept seeping into the ground. This is likely to have caused the cave-in,” said the official.