Chennai: The toll in the multi-storeyed building collapse at Mugalivakkam near Porur here went up to 17 as rescuers continued to sift through the rubble to extricate more persons, even as Chief Minister Jayalalithaa visited the site and indicated at least 40 others may still be trapped beneath the debris.
Of the 17 bodies recovered, four at Royapettah Government Hospital are yet to be identified, police said.
Six persons have so far been arrested in connection with the tragedy, including 2 promoters, 3 engineers.
The Chief Minister had on Sunday announced a solatium of Rs 2 lakh for families of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured, said 38 people have been recovered so far, of whom 17 had died and 21 were being treated.
“So far 38 people have been recovered. Out of them 17 are no more, 21 are receiving the best medical care and treatment in the hospital. Many of these workers are from Andhra
Pradesh, some from northern states and efforts are on to locate the remaining workers. About 72 persons were working inside the building when it collapsed,” she told reporters at a private hospital, where she met the injured.
The Chief Minister consoled the injured patients and handed each of them the solatium amount.
Asked for the reason behind the incident, she said, “It appears that the builders did not adhere to the approved plan. The building appears to have serious structural defects. Tests have to be conducted to see whether the soil is capable of bearing such a building.”
Of those working inside, it appeared about 20 were women, she said.
“We have made arrangements to house and feed families of the workers who are trapped inside. The government has made all arrangements for their housing, shelter and food. We will look after them until everything is over. Meanwhile, rescue efforts are continuing unabated. We hope that we will save as many lives as possible,” Jayalalithaa said.
She visited the accident site at Mugalivakkam where the 11 storeyed high rise came down last evening, and inspected the rescue operations underway.
Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkath, Director General of Police K Ramanujam, State Disaster Management Authority Commissioner T S Sridhar, Chennai Police Commissioner S George and senior officials were present during the CM’s visit to the spot.
Collectors of Vizianagaram and Nellore were also present.