Two more people, both women, were rescued in the early morning hours of Wednesday after a four-storey residential building collapsed in Lucknow on Tuesday evening. Both women have been sent to a nearby hospital, and with their rescue, a total of 14 people have been taken out of the collapsed building so far. There is, however, no estimate on how many more are still trapped inside even as rescue operations continue.
Uttar Pradesh DGP DS Chauhan said that they have a “definite clue” of three more persons trapped inside the debris. “Operations will go on for at least five hours more,” he told Hindustan Times.
“Now shift change of NDRF, SDRF is being executed after nearly 12 hours since the rescue operations began,” Chauhan added.
The DGP said no casualties have been reported so far.
Chauhan said that no arrest has been made in the case so far, but “strictest of action” will be taken against whoever is found responsible. He stressed that at the moment the focus remains on the rescue operation.
The incident happened around 7pm on Tuesday, and initially at least 30 to 35 people were feared trapped. Nine persons were rescued as soon as the rescue operations commenced, and they are currently undergoing treatment at various hospitals.
Several reasons have crept up following the incident though none has been ascertained. Preliminary reports indicate that some construction work was going on at the building’s parking lot. The building – Aliyah Apartment – is located in Hazratganj area of Lucknow, and comprised as many as 12 flats and two penthouses on the top floor.
Locals told HT that the builder was allegedly constructing the basement by breaking some columns of the building.
Lucknow divisional commissioner (Ms) Roshan Jacob said that the building was illegal and its “map was not passed”.
“Currently we are focused on rescue, and relief ops. But action…will be taken against the builder,” Jacob added.
A 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Tuesday due to which tremors were felt in Lucknow and other parts of north India have also surfaced as a reason for the collapse. The tremors lasted for several seconds.
Chauhan said on Tuesday that prima facie “it appears a case of natural disaster”. “Perhaps the 5.8 intensity earthquake (with its epicentre in Nepal) coupled with the building being in a riverine belt—as the Gomti river is nearby—could have caused the incident,” he added.
The construction work has not been completely ruled out though with the DGP saying a team of structural experts has been asked to conduct an investigation.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to ensure adequate treatment is provided to the injured individuals. He has also issued directions to hospitals to stay on alert.
Deputy CM Brajesh Pathak visited the Civil Hospital (Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Hospital) in Hazratganj soon after the incident on Tuesday and met the injured persons.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh also took to Twitter on Tuesday to say that the district administration under the supervision of the Uttar Pradesh government is providing all possible help.
District Magistrate Suryapal Gangwar said that an Indian Army team has joined the rescue work alongside the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).