Fifteen people were killed after a wall of a housing society compound collapsed on adjacent slums in Pune early on Saturday amid heavy rain, the Hindustan Times reported. All those who died – 10 men, a woman and four children – were from Bihar’s Katihar district.
The incident took place in Kondhwa locality around 1.45 am, PTI reported. The slums housed labourers working at a construction site nearby. Teams from the National Disaster Response Force and the fire department rescued two men and a woman, who were taken to hospital with severe injuries.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an inquiry into the incident, and announced Rs 4-lakh compensation for the families of those killed, The Indian Express reported. The Bihar government announced Rs 2-lakh compensation for the families of those killed, and Rs 50,000 for the injured, according to ANI.
Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak blamed the developers at the construction site and ordered that all work be stopped there. District Collector Naval Kishore Ram told ANI that the wall had collapsed due to the rain, and this had “brought to light the negligence of the construction company”. “Death of 15 people is not a small matter,” he said. “Prima facie, the builder seems to be at fault as he set up the labourers’ camp right adjacent to the wall.”
Ram said the bodies would be sent to their families in Bihar by Sunday morning after autopsies.
State Cabinet minister Chandrakant Patil told The Indian Express that the government was coordinating with the Bihar government to help the families. “A compensation of Rs 4 lakh for the next of kin has been announced from the National Disaster Relief Fund,” he said.
Mayor Mukta Tilak said an investigation would be conducted. She claimed the incident took place because of excess excavation in the area, The Indian Express reported. Tilak said both the developers – the one who built the boundary wall and the one who had started the new construction – were responsible and action would be taken against them. “The civic staff in charge of construction activities in the area would also face action,” she said.
Police Commissioner K Venkatesham told ANI that firm action would be taken against those responsible, and police would check whether permissions were taken and safety measures were followed at the site.
Pune received over 73.1 millimetres of rain in the last 24 hours, taking the rainfall in the city so far this month to its second highest level since 2010.