The National Disaster Response Force on Thursday night said its personnel had found nine bodies in the debris after a six-storey under-construction building collapsed on an adjacent four-storey structure in Greater Noida’s Shah Beri village on Sunday night. Dozens of labourers are still believed to be trapped under the rubble.

The search operation is underway. However, an NDRF official said that the chances of finding any survivors in the rubble were now “slim” since more than 36 hours have passed since the building collapsed, according to the Hindustan Times.

On Wednesday, the police arrested four people in connection with the incident. This includes the land owner Gangashankar Dwivedi and two associates, PTI reported. Gautam Buddh Nagar District Magistrate BN Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and a report on the buildings within 15 days.

A first information report was filed under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code at the Bisrakh police station against 18 people, Inspector General of Police (Meerut Zone) Ram Kumar said.

Four teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the police are involved in the rescue operations, NDRF Deputy Commandant RS Kushwaha told ANI. Sniffer dogs are being used to find people trapped under the debris.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath directed the district administration of Gautam Buddh Nagar, and officials to provide medical facilities and assistance to the injured. The chief minister announced a compensation package of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to those who sustained injuries in the incident, ANI reported.

Illegal construction in the area

S Dubey, a resident of the locality, said a group of residents had approached the local administration regarding the construction in the area. “We met MLA of Tejpal Nagar who wrote to them [local administration] to take action but nothing was done,” he said. He alleged that the construction of the building was illegal and neither the builder nor government authorities were looking into it.

Several buildings have mushroomed in Shahberi and other parts of the National Capital Region in the past few years. Reports have said that no building plans in Shahberi have been authorised, and that construction is often done on marshy land, and with cheap material. Buildings on swampy land cannot exceed five floors, but most of them, including the building that collapsed on Wednesday, have exceeded this. Activists have said the some builders in the area do not even have licences.