K’taka Building Collapse: Death Toll Rises to 16; 4 Accused Held

K’taka Building Collapse: Death Toll Rises to 16; 4 Accused Held

India

Video Producer: Debayan Dutta
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

Sixteen bodies have been recovered from the debris of the four-storey building as of Saturday, 23 March. The under-construction building collapsed in Dharwad on Wednesday, 20 March, DIG BR Ravikanthe Gowda told The Quint.

Rescue operations are still on and that four people may still be trapped under the rubble, the police officials said.

According to the officials, 72 people have been rescued as of Sunday.

“We are in touch with two people stuck inside, one male and one female. We were able to successfully rescue a man this morning, his name is Soma. One minor’s body was recovered yesterday, the only one so far, 8-year-old Divya. The rescue operations will continue. We are in touch with relatives of the people who are missing since that day to ascertain why they may have entered the building. With that, we can guess what floor they might have been on.”
BR Ravikanthe Gowda, DIG
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4 Accused Held by Police

Four accused named in the FIR – Ravi Basavaraj Sabarad, Basavaraj D Nigadi, Gangappa S Shintri and Mahabaleshwar Puradagudi – have surrendered to the police, said DCP Law Nagesh. They are all partners and own the building jointly.

An engineer named Vivek Pawar is also in police custody, reported ANI.

“They had already been named in the FIR. Procedure is going on, we will take statements and present them before the magistrate. They are all partners in the project. We are yet to take their statements. They have been charged under sections 304, 337 and 338 of the IPC,” Nagesh said.

The sections pertain to death due to negligence not amounting to culpable homicide, causing hurt by an act of endangering life or personal safety of others and causing grievous hurt by endangering the life and safety of others.

Meanwhile, seven officials of Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation have been suspended for negligence, by the state government on Saturday, 23 March.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said on Thursday, 22 March, “District administration has already announced magistrate inquiry, government is ready to appoint a retired High Court judge if required. It's suspected that more than 10 workers are still trapped under debris.”

“The greatest challenge has been cutting the concrete and getting to the trapped persons, we do not want them to be crushed by our hasty actions. We have provided them water and pushed in oxygen through cylinders and masks.”
MN Nagaraju, Police Commissioner, Hubli-Dharwad had said on 

The rescue operations, which took place in Kumareshwar Nagar off Bengaluru-Pune highway on Tuesday afternoon, are still underway.

Multiple NDRF teams are at the spot and have been working for the last two days.

‘Inquiry Into the Cause of Collapse Will Be Initiated’

M Deepa, Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad, who is overseeing the rescue operations, told The Quint that the material used in the building would be analysed and an inquiry would be initiated into the cause of the collapse of the four-storey building.

“Right now, all our efforts are on rescuing all the people still trapped inside, to retrieve as many lives as possible. What caused the fall will be analysed,” she added.

The injured persons have been getting treated at the district hospital, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences and another private hospital at the city. Deepa said that that the administration would bear the full cost of hospital expenses for the injured.

"All medical care will be given free of cost. In cases of deaths, the state will give compensation of Rs 5 lakh. Depending on the extent of the injury, Rs 2 lakh will be given to survivors who have been hurt," she said.

Expert Rescuers Sent by Special Flight: CM

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy took to Twitter and said the rescue operations are underway.

“The rescue operation is on and five people have been extricated, so far, from the debris. I have instructed the concerned officials to be on location,” Kumaraswamy added.

Karnataka Revenue Minister RV Deshpande also expressed his condolences and said, “It is a shocking incident. An inquiry will be ordered. Those injured will be treated free of cost.”

‘There Were Shops on First Two Floors’

An eyewitness speaking to TV9 claimed that the first two floors of the building were rented out by shops. He added that parts of the building were being constructed while shops were operating.

The ground floor of the building had two small restaurants and one medical store among others.

Apart from Dharwad district, additional rescue teams have been called in from neighbouring districts of the Belagavi, Huballi, Tumkuru, Chitradurga and Haveri.

According to fire management centre in Bengaluru, as the rescue is expected to take time, additional rescue units have been sent from Bengaluru’s Peenya, Rajajinagar fire stations located approximately 450 km away from the location of collapse.

Also Read : Government's negligence led to Kolkata bridge collapse: BJP

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