New Delhi: At least seven people were killed and 19 others injured when a 70-year-old three-storeyed building collapsed near Old Delhi's Jama Masjid area last night.
The incident took place at Chandni Mahal area at around 8 pm last night. Police say many people are still feared trapped under the debris.
Police said five persons including four women were brought dead to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narain Hospital while 25 others who suffered head and limb injuries are undergoing treatment.
Police said the building collapsed under the impact of an adjacent under-construction structure.
Local MLA Shoib Iqbal too said that an illegal construction next door may have caused the building collapse.
building, number 833, was heritage building, next to the police
station. I had called the Station House Officer (SHO) this Sunday
telling him that there is illegal construction going on. Unfortunately,
due to digging, the building has collapsed leading to 20-25 people
trapped," said Mr Iqbal.
The incident took place in a narrow lane and it affected the pace of rescue work as people could not reach the site. The scene was full of rubble which rescue workers worked hard to remove in order to locate survivors.
A large number of locals gathered at the spot and helped in rescue work. Some locals claimed that the occupants of the ill-fated building was fixing a door when the incident took place. They claimed that while the work was on, the beam which was supporting the building collapsed, leading to the tragedy.
Fearing that nearby buildings may get affected, police evacuated people residing in them.
Construction workers are being roped in to break the portions of concrete and pull out trapped people, a senior police official said.
Teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Delhi Police, Fire Brigade and Delhi Disaster Management Authority were helping in the rescue work, the official said.
Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal faced the ire of people at a government hospital when he arrived there to visit those injured in the building collapse.
Sibal came to LNJP hospital, but could not come out of his car as a number of people surrounded his vehicle. The Union Minister represents Chandni Chowk constituency in Lok Sabha under which Chandni Mahal area is located.
A seven-storeyed structure, built illegally, had collapsed in East Delhi's Laxmi Nagar area last November, killing over 70 people and injuring many others.
The civic body has, meanwhile, said that it will soon launch an inquiry into the building collapse incident to ascertain the cause of the mishap.
Yogender Chandolia, Chairman of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's Standing Committee, said Commissioner K S Mehra has been asked to inquire into the incident.
"I have asked him to submit a report in tomorrow's Standing Committee meeting," he said.
Mr Chandolia said there were several old and dilapidated buildings in the area. "We need to take a call on this," he said.