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Wall collapse kills 11 in TN

Chennai, July 6: Eleven migrant labourers were killed when a huge compound wall they had constructed collapsed on their shanties at a village in Tamil Nadu last night.

Nine of the victims were from Andhra Pradesh and two from Odisha. A child was among those killed.

The incident comes close on the heels of the collapse of a 12-storey under-construction building on June 28 that killed 61. Even then, the victims were mostly labourers working on the project. Out of the 61 killed and 27 injured, a majority were from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Last night’s incident took place at Alamatti village, 40km from Chennai. The 20-foot high wall built around two godowns collapsed on the shanties abutting the outer side of the wall at the village in Thiruvallur district.

According to Nagaraj, the sole survivor, they were sleeping in the shanties when it started raining heavily and suddenly the high brick wall came down on the shanties, burying them.

“I kept shouting for help and fainted. Only now the police told me that 11 others had died. Out of them, seven are my relatives from Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

The godown is located in an isolated spot and it was only well into the morning that villagers saw that the wall had collapsed and alerted the police and fire services.

“Since the wall had not set properly, its height, combined with the rains, made it weaker and brought it down,” said a fire official.

“The compound wall is unauthorised and it will be demolished. They had no permission to build a 20-foot tall wall over a perimeter of 300 metres. We have arrested two owners of the godowns,” said Thiruvallur district collector Veera Raghava Rao.

Chief minister Jayalalithaa has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the victims’ families.