UK & World News

  • 29 June 2014, 11:58

India Buildings Collapse Killing 22 People

Two separate buildings have collapsed in India, killing at least 22 people and trapping around a dozen more.

An 11-storey building under construction on the outskirts of Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state, came down, killing and trapping construction workers, during monsoon rains.

Police said 28 workers had been pulled out so far and the search was continuing for more than a dozen others.

Four of the workers were killed instantly and another seven died of their injuries later in a hospital, said police officer George Fernandes.

Another 13 injured workers are in hospital, while six others were allowed to go home after medical attention.

Police said two directors of the construction company, Prime Sristi, have been detained for questioning as authorities began investigating the cause of the collapse.

Balaguru, one of the builders, said the structure collapsed possibly due to lightning.

"Usually, once the construction gets over we install the equipment to prevent the building from a thunder strike. It was nearing completion," the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Balaguru, who uses one name, as saying.

Nearly 300 policemen and fire service workers worked overnight, looking for survivors in the debris.

Earlier in the day, 11 people, including five children, were killed when a four-storey building fell in New Delhi.

It is believed the collapse of the 50-year-old block may have been triggered by nearby construction work.

A local resident said he helped pull people from the debris before the emergency services arrived.

Ifikhar Ahmed said: "We ourselves pulled out seven people. Others have told us that they also rescued two to four people. To begin with, local residents rescued the victims and later the officials came."

Deputy Commissioner of Police Madhur Verma told reporters an investigation into the cause of the New Delhi collapse had been launched.

Building collapses are common in India, where high demand for housing and lax regulations have encouraged some builders to cut corners, use substandard materials or add unauthorised extra floors.

In April last year, 74 people were killed when an eight-story building being constructed illegally in the Mumbai suburb of Thane caved in. It was the worst building collapse in the country in decades.

A politician from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tweeted that action was needed to stop more people dying.

Vijay Goel said: "Building collapse in Delhi brings forth need to adhere to safety requirements."