The owner of a company where an under-construction structure collapsed, claiming the lives of two people, was arrested by Noida Police Saturday. According to police, R K Bharadwaj, who runs Shakti Techno Fab in Sector 11, has been booked for death due to negligence following a complaint by the victims’ families.
On Friday evening, plumbing work being carried out in the front portion of the company’s building led to a collapse, burying four people. The contractor Janendra (35) and a labourer Gopi (17) died while two people were injured. A rescue operation involving police, fire officers and NDRF personnel went on till late Friday night. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also took cognizance of the incident, directing the local administration to conduct an enquiry.
Among the injured is Ashu, who had taken up the job a few days ago to help his family financially since earning from their grocery store in Ghaziabad’s Loni had been hit by the lockdown.
“Usually we would have enough from the store and some side jobs but the situation was worsening. So I took up a plumbing job for daily wages. It was bad luck that we were working post 6 pm, since we usually wrap up by then. The wall was weak and as soon as I wrapped a wire around one of the pipes, the entire structure fell. I thought I was going to die,” said Ashu, inside Sector 30’s District Hospital. A makeshift structure had been built using iron rods in the front of the company’s building, and Ashu along with others were working on plumbing.
Ashu and the deceased Gopi had been contracted by Janendra, who lived in the same area in Ghaziabad. Janendra, originally hailing from Kanpur, is survived by three daughters. For the past four years, he had been involved in procuring daily wagers for such jobs. While the construction work at the company had been going on several months, the front portion was being built for the past 15 days, an official said.
“We received a call from Noida that my brother is one of the people who was crushed in the building collapse. Within an hour, we left from Kanpur. On the way, we were informed he was no more. There is no one to take care of his daughters; they are barely 10 years old. His wife can’t process what has happened,” said Ashok Kumar, Janendra’s brother.
Locals in Sector 11 said the incident took place “within seconds”, and by the time anyone could react, people were under the rubble. “Every day we would see people involved in the construction. Had this incident occurred at around 5 pm, more people would have died,” said Deepak, an eyewitness.
A senior official claimed there was also illegal construction taking place on the fourth floor of the building, which was found during the evaluation of the incident. The accused has been asked to submit company-related documents as part of the probe.
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