Chennai, June 29: The death toll in the collapse of the 12-storey under-construction building in Chennai rose to 11 today, although rescuers managed to extricate 30 people alive from the debris.
“We believe there could be another 10 persons trapped beneath the debris and it could take up to two days to reach all of them. We are pumping oxygen through the crevices to ensure those who are alive do not suffocate. It is a slow and painful process as the displaced debris should do no further damage to those trapped beneath,” said DIG S.P. Selvan, who is supervising the operations.
The rescuers are using sniffer dogs and remote cameras to look for survivors.
Chief minister Jayalalithaa, who visited the accident site, announced a relief of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the victims. The victims are contract workers from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Jayalalithaa said it appeared that the building had serious structural defects, as the builders did not adhere to approved plans. She said that 72 workers, including 20 women, were in the building when it collapsed.
A statement from Chennai police said “preliminary investigation revealed there was no coordination among the architects, structural engineers and site engineers over execution of the residential projectů.”
State DGP K. Ramanujam said five persons — two promoters, two engineers and a site supervisor — had been arrested on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
A team has been formed to investigate if there had been any discrepancies in the clearances granted for the building project by various government agencies.