Bhopal: A woman died and two men were injured after a 75-year-old house collapsed on Monday noon at Itwara area of Talaiya locality here. The house was under renovation work and the labourers were demolishing a part of the house, when it suddenly collapsed. According to locals, the incident took place on Monday noon at around 2.45 pm. The collapsed house was a three-storied building owned by Mohammad Saleem, who runs a wrestling akhada in the area and a dairy shop adjacent to the house. The more than half-a-century old house was in a dilapidated condition and was undergoing renovation work in which the front portion was already renovated, while the hind that collapsed was under re-construction.
“It was about 2.45 pm, when I heard a loud sound equivalent to a blast. I immediately came out of my home to see the neighbouring house caving in. The other people residing in the area also came out immediately and rushed to the spot to help the victims trapped under the rubble,” said one of the neighbours and nephew of Mohammad Saleem, Shanne Pehelwan while speaking to Free Press. He said that the family residing in the house was having about 10-15 members, but fortunately, majority of them were not in the hind portion that collapsed at the time of the incident. He further informed that the rescue team of the Bhopal municipal corporation (BMC) reached the spot after around one hour. “The BMC team reached late at the spot. Before their arrival, we pulled out three people trapped under the ruins. Out of the three, 50-year-old wife of Mohammad Saleem, Shahida Bi succumbed to injuries, while the other two are undergoing treatment in hospital. Of the two injured, one was the brother of Mohammad Saleem, Golu Pehelwan while identity of the other was yet to be known,” Shanne said.
Madhya Pradesh State Disaster Emergency Response Team (MPSDERT) team also reached the spot at around 4.15 pm to join the rescue team of BMC. At least four bulldozers and earth-moving machines were pressed into service to clear the ruins. Local corporator Shahwar Mansuri in whose ward the house was located, was also present at the spot and was unhappy over BMC sending the rescue team about one hour after the incident. “The BMC was very late to reach the spot. I tried to call the BMC commissioner, Chhavi Bhardwaj, but she didn’t pick up the phone. It showed her level of sensitivity towards the problems of citizens,” said Mansuri while speaking to the media persons at the site.
“The neighbours informed me that the collapsed part of the house which was in dilapidated condition was supported by only two pillars. The injured were saved by the locals, otherwise had they waited for the BMC team, all the victims would have died under the ruins itself,” Mansuri added. Mayor Alok Sharma, accompanied by other officials of BMC also reached the spot at around 5 pm and inspected the rescue work. He spoke to the mediapersons at the site and said that he would speak to the Chief Minister about the incident and discuss the amount of compensation for the victims. “BMC would now identify the dilapidated houses in the city and demolish them to avoid any similar accident in future. BMC tried to take similar action in the past too, but owing to political trickery by the opposition, it relented. Now, after this unfortunate incident I urge all the people to avoid doing petty politics in this issue and help finding a feasible solution as soon as possible,” said Sharma.
Meanwhile, police confirmed that at least one woman have died while two others were injured in the incident. However, they said that the victim family was yet to formally report the matter to the police. “We came to know about casualties from the locals. However, nobody from the victim family was willing to come forward and help police in further proceedings. We repeatedly asked them to provide identities of the deceased and the injured persons, but failed to get any reply from them,” said investigating officer, sub-inspector JK Gautam.