Three persons arrested; NDRF is assisting police and firefighters in the rescue operation.
At least three bodies were recovered and three people have been taken to hospital after two buildings collapsed in Greater Noida’s Shahberi village on Tuesday night.
Three persons have been arrested in connection with the incident in which several people are feared trapped under the rubble, police said on Wednesday.
Rescue operations that began on Tuesday night continued on Wednesday.
A six-storey building under construction collapsed on an adjacent building around 9.30 p.m., and that building too collapsed in the impact. The police have detained a builder and property dealer for questioning.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday night directed the police and administration departments to monitor and coordinate with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the rescue operation.
Drills are being used to remove metal rods to reach those trapped under the debris. A dog squad has also been pressed into service.
Trivedi, an operations manager at a Noida company, had completed the formalities for acquiring the apartment in April and shifted there on July 14. His relatives came to attend a get-together of family and friends organised that very day.
“I remember asking Shiv to wait till others had moved into the building too. But he said there was no problem as the structure was strong and approved (by the authorities),” said Neha Senger, a friend residing in Noida.
Senger had attended the get-together, and then returned to visit the family on Saturday. “Shiv’s mother and bhabhi were very proud of him because he had bought this flat, costing Rs 22 lakh, at such a young age. His brother was here too, but he left before the incident occurred. I wonder where all these officials, mediapersons and policemen were while the building was being built. This system has killed a family,” she lamented.
Trivedi held an MBA degree from a private institute in Mathura.
Police have taken four people into custody in connection with the incident. “We have arrested a builder – Gangasharan Dwivedi – and three brokers, and filed an FIR under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code against unknown people. A probe is underway, and we are still identifying others involved in the construction work,” said Gautam Budh Nagar senior superintendent of police Ajaypal Sharma.
Sources said many labourers who were engaged in applying finishing touches to the building, such as plastering its walls, may still be buried under the debris. A few guards were also feared killed in the incident.
It was with horror that Ankit Kumar, who lives in a single-storeyed house next to the collapsed structures, recounted the tragic events from the previous night. “I was sleeping on the terrace of my house when I heard a noise around 10 pm,” he said. “Even as I watched, the semi-constructed building sank a few feet into the ground and collapsed onto the adjacent structure. Then the dust rose, and I could not see anything for a while.”
Experts believe there are more disasters of the kind waiting to happen, unless timely action is taken.
As many as 150 hectares of land have come under unauthorised construction in Shahberi alone, mostly because lower middle class families who move to urban centres are lured by the relatively low rates offered by unscrupulous builders.