At leat four persons died and nine others were injured after the roof of a factory collapsed in Baba Mukund Singh Nagar on DBA Road of Ludhiana, Monday. The incident happened when the “illegal” construction work of raising the roof lanter was going on, said police.
Police said the incident happened when around 40 construction workers were trying to raise the roof lanter by at least 3 feet and suddenly, the entire structure came down.
Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Varinder Sharma said construction work to lift up the lintel at Jasmail Singh & Sons, an auto-parts manufacturing unit, was being carried out without any permission from Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.
“Though the number of construction workers who were employed on the spot by the contractor to lift up the roof lanter is not confirmed, according to some witnesses, there were at least 40 of them. After the structure collapsed, teams of local police, fire brigade, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were rushed to the spot. At least 38 labourers have been rescued of which four died, nine who sustained grievous injuries are undergoing treatment in hospitals and others left from the spot after getting first aid. There is a possibility that 3-4 more labourers might be trapped under the debris. Rescue work is on,” said the DC.
Ludhiana Police Commissioner Rakesh Agrawal said the factory owner, Jaswinder Singh from Dashmesh Nagar of Ludhiana, Jasmail Singh’s son, and the contractor Mohammad Haroon, were absconding since the incident. “The roof of the building at the third level was already 7 feet high and now they were raising it further by 3 feet. The entire structure collapsed due to the additional burden and the workers got stuck under the debris between level-2 and level-3. Owner of the building and the contractor who had employed the workers are absconding. Efforts are on to arrest them,” said the CP.
The deceased workers were identified as Mustaqin from Araria of Bihar, Peechu, Imtiaz and one Sagar (who was working in a neighbouring factory).
According to the FIR lodged in connection with the incident, the factory owner and the contractor “were trying to raise the roof lanter without taking any precautions” and “without any permissions”, following which the structure collapsed and workers got buried under it. It further said that the body of Mustaqin was recovered from the debris and he was declared dead in hospital. After some time, more persons were rescued and taken to the hospital with the help of SDRF and NDRF teams.
The FIR against owner Jaswinder Singh of Dashmesh Nagar and contractor Mohammad Haroon of Gagandeep Colony was registered under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC at Division no. 6 police station on the complaint of SHO Sub-Inspector Jatinder Singh.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh ordered a magisterial probe into the incident and also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, besides directing the district administration to ensure free and prompt treatment to the injured.
According to a spokesperson of the chief minister’s office, the magisterial inquiry would be conducted by divisional commissioner, Patiala, who has been directed to submit his report within two weeks. The CM said strict action would be taken against anyone found guilty of negligence.
In 2017, a fire in Ludhiana had led to the deaths of 16 people. On November 20, 2017, a blaze at a plastic factory, Amarson Polymers at Suffian Chowk, had led to the collapse of the multi-storey building even after the fire was put out. Of the 16 casualties, 9 were firefighters.