August 13, 2021 8:16:02 am
A dilapidated multi-storeyed building of RT Woolen Mill, which was gutted in a massive fire a little over a year ago, gave way on Thursday, leaving at least ten people, including two children, injured. The building was situated on RK Road in Industrial Area-A of Ludhiana.
On May 24 last year, a massive fire had engulfed this building which was being used to stock yarn threads, some machinery, and other goods. Luckily, there were no casualties. The fire had been doused after more than 12 hours by firefighters, with Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, ordering a probe later into the incident.
The building then had developed multiple cracks after the fire incident and firefighters carrying out the rescue operations were also told to be cautious, in apprehensions that the structure might collapse.
On Thursday, after the building collapsed, questions were raised on the working of the Building Branch of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) and why it failed to demolish the remains of gutted building even after more than a year.
On Thursday, as the remains of the building collapsed, the debris fell on nearby houses of some labourers, injuring at least ten, seven of which were serious. All the seven seriously injured people, which included two children, were immediately rushed to Mohandai Oswal Hospital. Sources said two adjoining buildings and a shed were also damaged after debris fell on them.
Contacted, officials in Ludhiana Municipal Corporation said that on August 5 this year, a team had sealed the building after declaring it ‘unsafe’. However, the mill owner allegedly got the seal broken with a plan to restart work, and some laborers were deployed at the spot. The building had been declared ‘unsafe’ only after a local Congress leader, Swarndeep Singh Chahal, had complained to Mayor, Balkar Singh Sandhu, stating that the structure can collapse anytime and the civic body should seal it before any major tragedy happens.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Pradeep Sabharwal, Ludhiana civic body commissioner, said that he has ordered probe into the building collapse incident and teams have been constituted to demolish the remaining part of the unsafe structure. “Municipal corporation additional commissioner Aditya Dachalwal will be conducting a probe into today’s incident and submit a report. Till then, we have taken remedial measures and the area has been sealed to avoid any further damage. The building branch will demolish the remaining structure. As per hospital record, seven people were admitted for treatment with injuries, of which five have been discharged, and two — including a child — still undergoing treatment. The probe will find if the building owner broke the seal installed by the civic body and tried to restart work inside the building, which led to the incident. We will write to the police for taking further action.”
Congress leader, Balkar Singh Sandhu, who is the Ludhiana Mayor, said that the building branch had sealed the building recently after getting a complaint from his party colleague Swarndeep Singh Chahal. “I had directed the building branch to look into the violations by the mill owner,” he said.
After the fire incident last year, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh too had marked an investigation and had directed the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner to look into the reasons behind the fire.
“I have directed the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana to look into the reasons behind the fire that broke out at RT Woollen Mills. Luckily there have been no casualties. The fire department took prompt action and prevented the blaze from spreading and causing more damage,” Punjab CM had tweeted, on May 24, 2020.
But the officials in Ludhiana are currently unaware whether a probe report was submitted after the CM’s order or not.
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