LUCKNOW: Tragedy struck a cremation ground where 23 people were killed when the roof of a shelter collapsed in Muradnagar township in Ghaziabad district neighbouring National Capital Delhi on Sunday.
While over 40 people were left injured, the toll is likely to soar further, said the Ghaziabad district administration sources.
According to Ghaziabad DM Ajay Shankar Pandey, over 40 people were rescued from under the rubble. The toll of the tragic incident had risen to 23, confirmed the DM.
Pandey added that relief and rescue work was being done by NDRF team and district administration on war footing.
"We have started a probe and we’ll take strict action against those found responsible for the tragic incident,” said Anita C Meshram, Meerut Divisional Commissioner while talking to media persons.
Of those who lost their life in the mishap, eight have yet to be identified, said the sources.
According to local sources, initially over 40 people were trapped in the debris.
The police and administration team arrived at the spot on receiving information and rescued the people, who were then rushed to Ghaziabad District Hospital.
The sources claimed that around 100 people had gathered at the spot as they were part of the funeral procession of a local resident of Dayanand Colony, who died on Saturday.
As the last rites were being performed, the roof of the shed came down crashing due to rains. As the roof collapsed, there was hardly any chance for anyone to escape, said the sources.
While a few got trapped in the rubble, some managed to save their lives by running. There was chaos and clamour all around.
The building structure at the cremation ground was not very old and it is feared that the incident took place because the building was constructed in an area where frequent water-logging takes place. Due to heavy rain, the soil moved and the incident happened, said the sources.
Meanwhile, UP CM Yogi Adityanath taking the cognizance of the tragic incident, announced the ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to next kin of the deceased while extending his condolences to the bereaved families.
He also instructed the officials to ensure that the financial assistance was provided to the dependents of the deceased in this accident immediately.
He has also instructed the Meerut Divisional Commissioner Anita C Meshram and ADG, Meerut Zone to submit a report regarding the incident.
Both President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed profound grief on the tragic demise of so many people extending his condolences to the bereaved families. Taking to the Twitter, the PM sent his wishes for early recovery of those admitted in hospital.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also expressed grief over the tragic incident in Muradnagar.