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Delhi building collapse toll rises, angry locals protest

Last updated on: September 28, 2011 11:38 IST

Delhi building collapse toll rises, angry locals protest

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Two more persons, who were injured in Tuesday night's building collapse in Old Delhi, died on Wednesday, taking the toll to seven even as rescue operations continued at the spot of the tragedy for the second day.

 

Over 25 people were injured in the incident and some more people are still feared trapped inside the debris after adjacent buildings collapsed in Chandni Mahal area at around 8 pm on Tuesday.

"Two more persons have died. The toll has risen to seven," Sudhir Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range), told PTI.

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Image: A man directs a bulldozer as he stands under a cluster of overhead wires at the site of the collapsed building
Photographs: Reuters
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Delhi building collapse toll rises, angry locals protest

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The site of the building collapse in Old Delhi saw protests on Wednesday morning by angry locals who claimed that the nexus between politicians, MCD officials and police allowed rampant illegal construction in their locality.


Women were leading the sloganeering against the authorities, alleging that politicians and officials were "filling their pockets" by allowing the illegal structures to come up.

"All are hand-in-glove. Police and MCD officials take money and allow illegal construction. The buildings are very old and no care is taken," said Abida, a local woman.
 

Shadra, another woman, said officials turn their eyes from illegal activities while "poor people like us suffer."


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Image: Rescue workers search for survivors under the rubble
Photographs: Reuters
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Delhi building collapse toll rises, angry locals protest

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The policemen who came to evict the protesters near the site to facilitate rescue operations were heckled and shouted at by the women who asked them not to "dare to remove us".

 

The protests not withstanding, locals also helped rescue workers in clearing the debris and look for any survivors in the concrete rubble. However, the narrow lanes hampered the pace of the rescue work.


A large number of personnel from Delhi Police, fire brigade, National Disaster Response Force and Delhi Disaster Management Authority were engaged in the rescue operations, which had continued overnight.

"We had some problems due to the congested lanes. We were not able to bring an earth mover inside. Hope things change during the day," a rescue worker said.

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Image: People who were injured during the collapse of a building being rushed to a hospital in an ambulance
Photographs: Reuters
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Delhi building collapse toll rises, angry locals protest

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Locals were also angry at politicians not turning up at the site. "Some leaders have gone to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital but they have not come here. Why is that?" asked local resident Mohd Alam.

 

Local MLA Shoib Iqbal visited the spot and claimed that he had informed police and MCD about illegal construction activities in the locality.

 

"There is a nexus between police and MCD officials to allow illegal construction. I myself had informed the senior officials at the local police station thrice but no action was taken," he claimed.

 
Iqbal also demanded that Delhi government pay Rs 20 lakh compensation to the next of kin of the deceased.

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Image: Rescue workers and volunteers are pictured at the site of the collapsed building
Photographs: Reuters
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