Two children died and five were injured after a school wall collapsed in Noida’s Salarpur area Monday morning. The incident took place when the boundary wall of KM Public School fell on students sitting adjacent to it. Locals rushed to the spot and recovered the bodies of children from the debris. Two boys, Bhupendra (8) and Vivek (7), were taken to nearby hospital, where they were declared dead on arrival. The injured children were admitted to nearby hospitals, where they are recuperating, said police.
Senior Superintendent of Police (Gautam Budh Nagar) Dr Ajay Pal Sharma said: “We received information in the morning about a school wall collapsing in Salarpur… It appeared that some construction activity was going on in the school’s vicinity, due to the impact of which the wall gave way. An FIR has been registered against school owners and the driver of the construction vehicle under IPC sections 304 (punishment for culpable homicide), 338 (causing grievous hurt) and relevant sections of the Juvenile Justice Act. Further investigation is pending.”
According to police, around 15 students were sitting next to the school wall taking an examination. A construction vehicle was moving piles of sand which, police said, weakened the wall’s structure, thereby aiding its collapse. Police said the construction was being carried out by the cousin of Amit Bhati, the school’s owner.
City Magistrate (Noida) Shailendra Mishra said, “Prima facie, it appears the school was not recognised or registered by the basic education department. It was a small setup being run for children in the village. Further details can be obtained after the education department conducts an inspection into the permissions obtained by the school. Meanwhile, we are assisting the families of the children in every way possible.”
The administration has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for families of the two children, officials said, adding that it will also pay the medical expenses incurred by the families of the children injured.
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) official said a 47-personnel team was sent to the spot within 15 minutes of the information being received.
Bhupendra studied in Class II and Vivek in Class I. Both lived within 100 metres of the school campus. Vivek’s brother Abhishek, who was present inside the school at the time of the collapse, said: “Since it was cold inside, students wanted to sit outside in the sunlight. Barely a few minutes later, we heard the engine of the vehicle. I managed to rescue one of my brothers, Ashish, who received head injuries. But it was too late for Vivek,” he said.
According to eyewitnesses, the driver of the construction vehicle fled from the spot.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has demanded a report from the Gautam Budh Nagar administration. “The CM has expressed his condolences… The DM has been asked to investigate into the causes of the accident and submit a report,” said the CM’s office.