World News‎ > ‎

Authorities Call Off Rescue Operations From Collapsed Building Site In India’s Goa

posted 6 Jan 2014, 07:20 by Sam Mbale

While addressing mediapersons in Panaji, capital of India's coastal Goa, Chief MinisterManohar Parrikar, announces the withdrawal of rescue operations from the site of the collapsed building

CANACONA, GOA, INDIA (JANUARY 06, 2014) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI) -  While addressing mediapersons on Monday(January 06) in Panaji, capital ofIndia's coastal Goa, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, announced the withdrawal of rescue operations from the site of the collapsed building.

The gadget spec URL could not be found
"In these circumstances, I will not consider it appropriate to risk their (rescue workers) lives also because the building has tilted by a metre. After we started reviewing the debris, the balanced part of this building, the collapsed building, balance component is tilting," he said.

The death toll has reached 17 and the whereabouts of 12 people are still unknown.It is assumed that they are still buried beneath the rubble.

Many are feared trapped when a half-built apartment block collapsed in Goa, the latest disaster to draw attention to safety standards amid a construction boom.

The multi-storey building in Canacona, just over four kilometres (two and a half miles) from the popular Palolem beach, collapsed on Saturday (January 04).

Parrikar has called a meeting with engineers and officials to seek a solution to the problem.

"So, I've called a meeting of all concerned tonight at eight o' clock in Panaji and we are also calling some experts there, technical experts, civil engineer, chief engineer. We will take a decision and demolish that other building. I think that is the best option available, push that building down," he said.

Parrikar also brought some irregularities to the surface. He revealed that before the occupancy of the land, the structural stability certificate of the building was not given by the concerned authorities.

A probe into the building accident will be headed by retired IAS officer, V.K. Jha.

Parrikar explained why a probe has been ordered in this case.

"The probe is basically to pinpoint the problem caused, pinpoint the responsibility. Now this is a probe and also we suggest what should be the line of action because this is actually the Municipal Council which has to take precaution of all these constructions," he said.

He said that there has been a delay in arresting the ones responsible because the administration is focused on saving the trapped labourers from the debris.

He announced that the Director of the Municipal administration and the Panchayat will be issued clear directives about the kind of documents required before issuing licenses for the occupancy of land.

Around 50 people were working at the site at the time of the accident and at least a dozen were still trapped under the concrete, according to witness accounts cited in media reports. One report put the number of people trapped as high as 60.

India's booming construction industry is set to be worth $1 trillion by 2025, which would make it the world's third largest, according to a report by Global ConstructionPerspectives and Oxford Economics.

But this dazzling growth has often come at the expense of safety standards.

At least 50 people were killed when a five-storey apartment block in Mumbai collapsed last September.

A collapse in April killed 72 people in Thane, a satellite city just outside Mumbai. Officials said the structure was built with poor materials and did not have proper approvals.

Goa police have registered a case - using a process known in India as a "first information report" - against the real estate development firm building the block.