Nine killed in Kolkata building collapse

At around 11.50 pm on Sunday, the building suddenly came down heavily

KOLKATA: At least nine people including two women died while 17 others were injured when an “illegal” under-construction building collapsed with a deafening sound at Garden Reach in the port area of the city late on Sunday night.

A promoter, Mohammad Wasim, who had the contract for raising the fivestoreyed apartment at Azhar Mollah Bagan in ward no 134 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, was arrested by the police on Monday on several charges including murder and attempt to murder.

The accident drew Trinamul Congress supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was recuperating from her head injuries at home, to the spot after the locals alleged that the accused realtor had her party’s support in the illegal work in a dingy neighborhood.

The site falls under the Kolkata Port assembly constituency represented by TMC MLA Firhad Hakim who is state urban development and municipal affairs minister and city mayor also. Visiting the spot, he however claimed that he was in dark about the construction work.

At around 11.50 pm on Sunday, the building suddenly came down heavily. More than 26 people living in adjacent shanties fell trapped under the debris. Disaster management and fire brigade personnel took them out in a search and rescue operation that continued on Monday.

Nine among them– Shama Begum (45), Hasina Khatun (60), Akbar Ali (34), Rizwan Alam (23), Mohammad Wasik (19), Mohammad Imran (27), Ramzan Ali (55), Nasimuddin (24) and Sheikh Abdullah (18)– were declared brought dead at Unipon Hospital at Metiabruz and SSKM Hospital. 17 others with various injuries were admitted to the two hospitals. Five of them were later released after treatment.

On Monday morning the CM, braving her injuries, rushed to the spot and said, “This is a very congested area which flourished over the years. The promoters, who raise such buildings should think of not harming neighbours.”

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