Adugodi building collapse: playtime turns tragic

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Bangalore, November 27;  “Savithamma, you have left me and gone. Now how do I call you, how do I call you back?” The cries of Sujata, mother of two-year-old Savitha, were heart-wrenching. Savitha was one of the five persons killed when a complex comprising a warehouse and nine tenements atop and around it caved in at Jai Krishnappa compound in Adugodi here on Tuesday.

Even as Ms. Sujata’s husband Vijay Kumar and her relatives tried to console her, her three-year-old son Vinod sat beside her, too little to understand what was going on.

Vinod and his parents were in their house on one side of the complex, while Savitha was playing at a neighbour’s house, which was one of those that collapsed.

Mr. Kumar said his daughter often went to neighbours’ houses. Meenakshi, whose house the toddler was at on Tuesday, said she would often take Savitha to her house after her husband left for work. Ms. Meenakshi’s daughter Bindu said: “My mother and I were standing outside our house on the verandah while the baby was inside. My aunt Rathnamma, who came to visit us from Kollegal on Monday night, was feeding Savitha in the house, when the building suddenly shook and went down. We all ran out as the building crumbled. But, Savitha went down with the debris. My aunt just about managed to escape. She sustained a leg injury.”

Ms. Meenakshi added that minutes before the collapse, she received a call on her cellphone and was speaking outside when the building collapsed. Before they could even cry out, the baby was buried under the debris, she said.

Mr. Kumar’s entire family, including his mother, his siblings Venkatesh, Sindhu and Prabhu, and their families have been living in the same compound for the last 30 years.

Venkatesh’s wife Sathya and a relative, Ezhilarasi, said the collapse happened in a matter of seconds. No one had time to save anybody, they said.

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