THREE workers died and nine were injured when a stone slab in an under-construction mandap, or foyer, of a temple in Pimple Gurav area collapsed on Wednesday afternoon.
At the time of filing the report, police were in the process of registering an offence against those involved in the construction work. Police said the incident took place at Mahadev temple, located near the crematorium in Pimple Gurav. The construction work at the foyer was part of the renovation work of the temple, which has been going on for one-and-a-half months, said police.
“The slab was being built by gluing stone blocks together with a type of solution. The structure had a support system in place, but it collapsed around 3 pm and at the time, there were 12 workers underneath the slab. The other workers on the site, along with local residents, pulled out the workers, who were rushed to a hospital. Three persons succumbed to their injuries and nine others are being treated for serious injuries,” said Senior Inspector Prabhakar Shinde of Sangvi police station.
“As part of the probe, we will investigate whether the construction work had all the necessary sanctions and if all the safety measures were in place. We will also probe negligence on the part of the people involved in the work… an offence is being registered,” added Inspector Shinde.
The three deceased labourers have been identified as Mantosh Sanjit Das (29) and Premchand Rajwat (35), both from West Bengal, and Chidamma Mansoppa Pujari (30), a resident of Khadki.
Over 100 deaths at construction sites every year
There is no concrete data available on the number of labourers injured or killed at construction sites, because of the very unorganised nature of the sector, but the estimated number of deaths every year in Pune and surrounding areas is 100 to 120. Majority of the accidents take place when workers fall off under-construction buildings or are injured when parts of the under-construction site collapse. Authorities say the compliance rate of safety norms at small-scale sites is worryingly low.
‘Prima facie, temple seems to be unauthorised structure’
THE Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has launched a probe to find out whether the temple in Pimple Gurav area, where three workers died on Wednesday when a stone slab collapsed on them, was constructed legally. “Prima facie, the temple seems to be an unauthorised one… we had issued a notice to it sometime ago,” said Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar. As per initial information, some redevelopment work was underway at the temple, said Hardikar.
The PCMC chief said he has asked a two-member team, comprising the additional municipal commissioner and city engineer, to investigate the matter. “I have asked them to reach the spot and find out details of whether permission had been sought…,” he said.
Queried on allegations by civic activists that several temples in Pimpri-Chinchwad were constructed illegally, Hardikar said the civic body has taken action against illegal religious structures. “We have demolished some of them and have relocated a few of them. It is an ongoing process,” he said. The PCMC chief said the civic body has regularised some structures in accordance with the state government’s notification. Civic activists, however, have claimed that several religious structures have come up in Kasarwadi, Pimple Gurav, Sangvi, Pimpri and Bhosari, and accused PCMC officials of turning a blind eye to them.
Civic activist Shridhar Chalkha said religious structures come up regularly with the support of political leaders. He said in May 2011, the state government had passed a resolution to regularise, demolish or relocate illegal shrines after a cut-off date of September 9, 2009 was fixed by the Supreme Court to act against them. “However, civic bodies across Maharashtra have been slow in taking action against them and therefore, illegal shrines keep on expanding and other such structures keep coming up,” he said.
Hardikar denied allegations that the PCMC was not acting against unauthorised religious structures. “We are constantly taking action,” he said.