New Delhi: A day after 17 people, mostly labourers, died in a wall collapse incident in Pune’s Kondhwa, it has surfaced that the builders of the housing society, whose boundary wall fell- were warned five months ago of its dilapidating condition.

It was around 2.15 a.m. on Saturday when the compound wall of Alcon Stylus residential building suddenly came crashing down trapping the victims still asleep in their huts, police and NDRF officials said.

Around half a dozen vehicles parked near the compound wall also were dragged down as a portion of the earth caved in and crashed onto the hutments below.

All 17 killed were labourers living in shanties next to the highrise residential complex. The dead included five children.

Teams of rescuers who rushed to the spot managed to rescue just three people alive, including two minors, the officials said.

Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram said that the wall crashed owing to the heavy rains experienced in the city since Friday. “Negligence of the builders is coming to light. Deaths of 15 persons is not a small matter. They are mostly labourers from Bihar and West Bengal. The government will provide all help to them,” Ram told media persons. (At the time of taking this quote, the death toll was 15)

The Pune police have filed cases around a dozen persons including the top officials of Kanchan Builders and Alcon Stylus, their engineers and contractors for the tragedy, charging them with negligence and culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

BUILDERS WERE WARNED

“We had a meeting on February 16 with Vivek Agarwal (a partner at Alcon Landmarks) over the pending works. We highlighted the condition of the wall, told him that it was tilting outward and its construction quality was not satisfactory,” a resident of the housing society said.

The Minutes of Meeting (MoM) were sent to the developer firm by e-mail later, he added.

However, director of Alcon Landmarks Jagdish Agarwal subsequently told them that the wall was safe and if anything happened, he would take care of it, the resident claimed.

“We have forwarded the e-mail communication with the builder to the Pune Municipal Corporation and police,” another resident said.

The police on Saturday registered a case of culpable homicide against Jagdishprasad Agarwal (64), Sachin Agarwal (34), Rajesh Agarwal (27), Vivek Agarwal (21) and Vipul Agarwal (21) of Alcon Landmarks, and Pankaj Vora, Suresh Shah and Rashmikant Gandhi of the Kanchan Royal Exotica project for which excavation work was going on.

 

With inputs from IANS, PTI