Government

Pune Wall Collapse: Six-Member Panel Probing Incident, Two Arrested

Licences of the structural engineer and the building's architect have been suspended and they have been blacklisted.

Mumbai: Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil on Monday said a six-member committee is probing the wall collapse incident in Pune in which 15 people were killed last week.

The probe panel comprises additional district collector, officials of the labour commissionerate, Pune police, civic body and deputy director town planning, Patil, who is the guardian minister of Pune district, said in the state Assembly.

Fifteen persons, including four children, were killed and two others injured on Saturday when a portion of a 22-feet high compound wall of a housing society in Kondhwa area of Pune collapsed on adjoining shanties of construction workers following incessant rains.

Eleven people have been booked for culpable homicide, Patil informed the House, adding that out of them, two have so far been arrested. “After the probe report is received, further action will be taken,” he said.

All the deceased labourers belonged to the Katihar district of Bihar, he said, adding that the bodies have been sent to their villages.

He noted that the construction work had been going on in a very narrow lane. “There was no space for ambulances to arrive at the site of the accident. I wonder how permissions are given for construction of the residential premises in a place like this,” he said.

The minister also said that the housing society’s developer has been asked to stop construction.

Licences of the structural engineer and the building’s architect have been suspended and they have been blacklisted, he said, adding that the registration of the RCC (structural design) consultant has been stayed as well.

Family members mourn the death of labourers who were killed when a portion of the compound wall of a housing society collapsed on shanties adjacent to it in Kondhwa area of Pune. Photo: PTI

Family members mourn those killed when a portion of the compound wall of a housing society collapsed on shanties adjacent to it in Kondhwa area of Pune. Photo: PTI

“Permission has been given to reconstruct the compound wall,” the minister said.

Earlier, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member Ajit Pawar demanded that the accused be booked for culpable homicide. He said the need of the hour was to ensure that the Construction Workers Welfare Board was functioning effectively.

“The poor should get justice. Developers should be punished,” he said.

NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil said the building adjacent to the collapsed wall was also facing a similar risk. “The construction work should not be allowed to start again. Illegal constructions in the Kondhwa region of Pune should be curbed and the guilty builders should be blacklisted,” he demanded.

Congress member Amit Deshmukh asked if labourers from other states were registered with local authorities. “Accountability needs to be fixed and stricter laws are necessary,” he said.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) Vijay Wadettiwar said residents of the building adjacent to the compound wall had complained to local authorities about defects in the wall four months ago. “If action had been taken at that time itself, this mishap wouldn’t have happened and 15 innocent lives would not have been lost,” he said.

The Congress leader demanded that the financial assistance to those injured in the mishap be increased from the already announced Rs 25,000. Majority of the labourers coming to work from other states are children, he claimed.

Vishwajit Kadam of the Congress called for specific rules for developers and contractors while hiring workers from other states.

 

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