Hyderabad building collapse: 11 bodies retrieved, building owner arrested

HYDERABD: Eleven bodies were recovered from the debris of an under-construction building which collapsed in Hyderabad on Thursday night, while a woman and her son were rescued. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) said that four bodies had been retrieved on Friday night.

The rescue operation continued well into the night. ANI reported that the owner of the building was arrested by the police.

The seven-storey building at Nanakramguda in the Cyberabad zone came crashing down on Thursday night. On Friday, Cyberabad police commissioner Sandeep Shandilya had told PTI that Rekha, around 35-year-old, and her son (4), who hailed from Chhattisgarh, were pulled out alive from the crash site. The woman and her son were admitted to a hospital for treatment, he said.

All the victims of the tragedy are workers who lived in the basement of the building. Except one family, all others belonged to Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. The state government has arranged for sending the bodies and family members of the deceased to their native places in Andhra Pradesh through the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), the GHMC said.

Telangana Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao visited the spot and announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of those killed. The state government would take tough action against the building owner for alleged violation of construction rules as well as the civic officials “who looked the other way”, he said. A family member of the building’s owner had been detained and two GHMC officials had been suspended, the Minister said.

Andhra Pradesh Housing Minister K Mrinalini, who hails from Vizianagaram, also visited the site and spoke with K T Rama Rao and others. The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad, has been asked to investigate the cause of the collapse. A preliminary report in this regard was expected tonight, the GHMC said.

The state government has also requested the secretary of Municipal Administration Department to examine the relevant issues and suggest systemic improvements to prevent such incidents in future, it added.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya met Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who was in Delhi and discussed the incident with him. Dattatreya also directed Labour Ministry officials in Hyderabad to provide necessary help to the victims, a release from the Union Minister said. Telangana Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy and other party leaders visited the site.

In an apparent reference to Rama Rao, Reddy said the “head of the department (Municipal Administration and Urban Development) should take the moral responsibility” for the tragedy and quit. NDRF personnel along with local civic workers handled the rescue operations which were difficult and time-consuming as the collapsed building was narrow.