Bangalore: At least 20 workers were injured and two trapped on Monday when an eight-storey apartment building that was under construction developed cracks and partially collapsed in a southern suburb of Bangalore, capital of Karnataka state.
"Efforts are on to rescue the two people trapped in the debris. Twenty labourers who narrowly escaped with injuries have been rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment," a fire brigade official said.
The mishap occurred at Someshwarnagar, near NIMHANS Hospital, around 10 a.m., when some of the main pillars on the ground supporting the structure gave in, tilting the building dangerously. The partially-built floors cracked under the weight of construction material.
State Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, who is also in-charge minister for Bangalore city, told reporters at the spot that six additional floors were being constructed, in gross violation of building norms.
"The additional floors under construction are illegal, as the sanction was only for ground plus two floors in this area, where only residential houses are allowed. Apartments or flats are not allowed here due to inadequate space for roads, parking and other civic amenities," Reddy said, in the presence of officials.
As the ill-fated building was on the verge of crashing down, the fire brigade directed residents in adjacent houses to vacate their premises till the area was cleared.
"The tilted building, which is sinking, may collapse anytime and its debris may fall upon surrounding houses. As a precautionary measure, we have asked the residents to vacate for safety reasons," the official said.
Blaming the building owner and its contractor, who were not present at the spot, for using poor quality building material, Reddy said faulty design and weak foundation had resulted in the illegal building`s partial collapse.
"I have directed the civic body to inquire into the mishap as its (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) engineers and officials failed to prevent the illegal construction, which I am told has been going on over the last six months," Reddy said.
Rescue efforts were also hampered due to congestion in the area and narrow roads, riddled with pot holes and damaged in the recent rains.