Debris of the collapsed building in Sector 115 at Kharar on Sunday. (Express photo/Jasbir Malhi)
A day after the three-storey building collapsed in Kharar, the preliminary inquiry found that the builder had not intimated the Municipal Council (MC) about digging up of the plot, which is said to have the caused the collapse of the building.
Parveen Kumar, owner of the construction company Ambika Builders, whose office collapsed Saturday, was booked by the police, while contractor Pankaj Kumar, who was assigned the work of digging up the plot, was also booked. The builder told the police that the building had collapsed because the contractor had dug up more area than required.
The rescue work at the accident site was called off by the district administration around 12.30 am, after a canine team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) confirmed that no one was buried under the debris of the building.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Girish Dayalan said that according to preliminary information, the building plan including the basement had been sanctioned by the Kharar MC, however, the builder had not intimated the Council about digging up of the basement which was started Saturday. The DC added that it was the duty of the builder to inform the MC so that the viability of digging the plot could be checked.
He further added that the builder had told the officials that the contractor proceeded to start digging without the builder’s consent, and ended up digging more than the sanctioned depth, which could have resulted in the collapse. “These matters will be investigated further once the debris are removed. Our teams are working on it and Kharar SDM is preparing a report,” the DC added.
He further said that the rescue operation was completed around 12.30 am after the confirmation from the NDRF and its canine squad that no one was buried in the debris. The canine squad surveyed the place thrice to confirm the same. The contractor was also interrogated to confirm the total number of workers present at the site at the time of the incident, who were then accounted for.
The DC said, “Presently, cutting and heavy lifting machineries are at work and the debris are being removed. The builder has also been asked to remove the debris in supervision of the district administration.”
Meanwhile, the police booked both Parveen Kumar, proprietor of Ambika Group and contractor Pankaj Kumar under the Sections 287 (Negligent conduct with respect to machinery), 288 (Negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings ), 304 (Causing death by negligence), 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others0), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others ), 427 (mischief, damage to the property of fifty rupees), 420 (cheating), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Kharar (sadr) police station.
Kharar Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Dr Surinder Singh said that injured Harjeet Singh and Prem Bahadur were under observation and their condition was stable. He added that the body of Harwinder Singh, who had died in the incident,
was handed over to his family after postmortem.
“Harwinder Singh died due to a chest injury, a slab was found on his chest which could be the reason of his death,” the DC added.
The administration is yet to take any action against the builders, after the building collapsed, revealing the complacent attitude of the authorities in taking action against the builders.
In April 2018, a three-storey underconstruction residential building collapsed at Peermuchalla in Zirakpur. Even though an FIR was registered against the builders, there was no conviction in the case.
The then Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Charan Dev Singh Mann had prepared a report on the building being constructed without any necessary permissions from the MC in Zirakpur, however, to no avail.