3 officials arrested over Ghaziabad crematorium incident; victims' kin block Delhi-Meerut highway

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Ghaziabad, Jan 4 (PTI) Three civic officials were arrested on Monday over the collapse of a crematorium roof that claimed 24 lives here as tension spiralled in the area with the families of the victims blocking the Delhi-Meerut highway by placing two bodies on the road to press for their demand for higher compensation.

They lifted the blockade and agreed to cremate the bodies after hours of protest as officials agreed for Rs 10 lakh compensation and a government job for each victim's family, Superintendent of Police (Rural) Iraj Raja said.

He said that Muradnagar Nagar Palika Executive Officer Niharika Singh, Junior Engineer Chandra Pal and Supervisor Ashish were arrested this morning as they were involved in the tendering process for building the structure that collapsed Sunday, killing 24 people and injuring 17 others.

Police teams are also conducting raids at possible hideouts of contractor Ajay Tyagi to arrest him, Raja said.

Officials said construction work for the shelter at the crematorium, estimated to cost around Rs 55 crore, was started two months ago and it was opened for public nearly 15 days ago.

The road blockade near the Muradnagar Police Station had led to a massive traffic jam with hundreds of vehicles getting piled up during the morning rush hour.

The protesters were insisting District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey be called for a talk with them so that they can register their demands including Rs 20 lakh compensation for each of the grieving families and a government job for one of their members.

Th DM, Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani and other senior officials later reached the protest site and spoke to them over their demands, officials said.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had Sunday announced Rs 2 lakh as financial relief for the families of each man killed.

Officials also said the government has agreed to provide relief to the injured after assessing their level of handicap.

Twenty-four people, most of them attending a funeral, were killed and 17 others injured when the roof of a shelter at a cremation ground in Muradnagar here collapsed on Sunday.PTI COR TIR TIR