Wall collapse at under-construction ISKCON temple claims three lives

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Bangalore, September 11:  Three persons, including a four-year-old girl, were killed and five others were injured when the compound wall of an under-construction ISKCON temple off Kanakapura Road collapsed on a row of adjoining hutments on Monday.

The deceased were identified as Shreya (4), her grandfather Topalayya (63) and Chennagirappa (35). The Subramanyapura police and Fire officials rushed to the spot and helped rescue the five people trapped under the debris.

Sureshan, a local resident, said the rescue operations lasted for at least five hours. “The 20-foot high wall collapsed around 1.50 p.m. and damaged about 8 to 9 houses adjacent to it,” he said. The slum in Vasanthpura comprises more than 40 houses, many of which have asbestos sheets for a roof.

Police said the officials used gas cutters and other equipment to remove the material that had collapsed on the houses apart from pulling out those trapped in the debris. They struggled to pull out Lakshmikanth, the two-year-old son of the deceased, Chennagirappa,

Apart from Lakshmikanth, four others injured have been identified as Venkatesh (30), Swamivelu (32), Varadaprasad (7) and Sarasamma (in her 50s), who were taken to BGS and Victoria hospitals for treatment.

Spokesperson for ISKCON Bharatashaba Das told The Hindu that they had provided relief of Rs. 10 lakh for the families of the deceased adults and Rs. 5 lakh for the deceased child. They have also provided Rs. 50,000 to each of the families of the injured.

The collapsed wall was part of the compound of the temple, whose construction on 28 acres of land started in 2004. Bharat Das said that they would be constructing a new compound wall about 20 feet away from the slums.

The ISKCON authorities also met BBMP Commissioner M. Lakshminarayan and city in-charge and Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Tuesday. The relatives of the injured also met the officials and shared their tragic experience. Meanwhile, Subramanyapura police have registered a case of death due to negligence against the administrator of ISKCON, the contractor and the engineer.

Mr. Lakshminarayan said he had asked ISKCON to construct a new wall, which will have to be constructed with proper reinforcements and its design has to be approved by the BBMP.

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