At least three persons, including two children, were on Tuesday killed and five others seriously injured when slabs of six floors of a multi-storey residential building collapsed here.
Expressing sadness on the tragic incident Gujarat chief minister and BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, who is campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh, has ordered a probe.
“Saddened to hear about the building collapse in Surat. Condolences to families of those who lost their lives & prayers with the injured,” Modi tweeted within hours of the incident.
“Gujarat Government has ordered a magistrate level inquiry to look into the cause of the building collapse,” the chief minister said in another tweet.
The mishap took place in the 17-year-old 'Kaniya Palace' building having nine floors each in two blocks on Ghod-daud road, which houses 90 families.
According to Surat fire brigade, drawing room floors of 'A' block, starting from 6th floor till 1st floor, collapsed this afternoon.
Creating a hollow, debris of all the slabs came crashing down on parked vehicles on ground floor, claimed an eye witness.
"After learning about the collapse, our teams rushed to the spot and started rescue operation to pull out people from debris. In the accident, three people died, while five received critical injuries. All of them were rushed to hospital," said a fire brigade official.
The deceased included an infant Darshan Prajapti (four months), Meet Shah (8 years) and Pooja Agrawal (40).
Investigation revealed that Meet and Pooja used to live in the ill-fated building with their families, while Darshan came with his grandmother, who works as maid in that building.
As the word spread about the collapse, Surat Municipal Commissioner MK Das and Mayor Niranjan Zanzmera along with police officials rushed to the spot.
Talking to mediapersons, Zanzmera said the collapse of a drawing room floor on 6th storey created a domino effect, breaking slabs on subsequent lower level floors beneath.
"The owner of flat no. 601 had called masons to remove tiles of his drawing room. Due to the vibrations of tile removal machine, whole slab of that drawing room fell on 5th floor. Then, all the slabs in that path came crashing down the ground floor," said the mayor.
Since many locals claimed that the builder, identified as Kanaiya Kamlani, sold these flats without acquiring BU (building use) permission from authorities, it is alleged that the building was illegal.
Zanzmera assured to take up the issue and conduct a thorough inquiry.
"We have vacated the whole building. I have asked my officers to check if the plan of this building is passed or not. We will not spare anyone who is found guilty of flouting rules," he assured.
(With agency inputs)
SS / YS