Jalandhar building collapse: Toll rises to 21



Jalandhar: Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Saturday arrested the contractor of the blanket factory that collapsed here on Sunday, even as rescue workers scrambled to extricate people trapped from the site where 21 bodies have been recovered so far.

The contractor identified as Sarvan Singh, who had constructed the factory building, has been arrested. He has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, SIT Chief Navjot Singh Mahal told reporters.

The owner of the blanket factory Sheetal Vij, who is in police remand, has also been charged under the same charge.

"We have pulled out 21 dead bodies from the debris while sixty-two people have been rescued so far. While some of the survivors have been discharged others are still admitted at the Sadar Hospital and the Devi Talab Trust Hospital," District Magistrate Priyank Bharti said.

The district magistrate said that the rescue and relief work would be continued till the last body is pulled out from the rubble.

"We don't want to endanger the life of any survivor trapped beneath the rubble though we doubt if anyone is still alive," he said.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Commandant R K Verma said half of the rubble has been cleared so far, but it will require a few more days to cleat the rest.

The three-storey factory building had collapsed at around midnight on Sunday in Focal Point area here.

The Punjab government, meanwhile, increased the compensation from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh for each to the kin of the deceased. It also announced a compensation of Rs 65,000 each to the seriously injured and Rs 45,000 each to injured persons.

PTI