DHARWAD: One of the major rescue works undertaken in North Karnataka in the recent years came to an end on Monday evening, six days after a commercial establishment, partially under construction, came crashing down in Kumareshwar Nagar of Dharwad on March 19. Nineteen people could not make it out of the debris, while 64 people escaped with minor injuries. Nearly 3,000 personnel belonging to various government agencies took part in the rescue. According to the police, bodies of Vaghu Jore (30), Navalu Jore (24) and Sahadev Solanki (48) — all construction workers — were pulled out by Monday morning.
The rescue teams also recovered valuables such as laptops and mobile phones which were handed over to the district administration. Two teams from the National Disaster Response Force, a platoon from the State Disaster Response Force and a 300-member team from the Fire and Emergency Services were pressed into the rescue work.
The building, that was owned by five partners, including the father-in-law of former minister Vinay Kulkarni, was said to be in a poor shape owning to faulty construction. The architects of the building were trying to strengthen the building by adding an additional pillar, but the structure came down crashing at 3.30 pm on March 19.
On the first two days, 54 people were pulled alive out from the debris. Nearly 33 hours the building came crashing down, Prema Unkal (40) was rescued. However, her daughter eight-year-old Divya was not lucky.
Nearly 60 hours after the collapse, the rescue teams were able to pull out Sangamesh R (24) alive from under the debris. Hopes rose and the rescue teams cautiously moved deeper under the debris and rescued two more trapped persons, a husband and wife. That was not all. Nearly 72 hours after the incident, the rescue teams managed to bring out Honnamma, 45. All those who were rescued after 60 hours of the tragedy are under treatment and their condition is improving.
The government has suspended seven HDMC officials, including the assistant commissioner and town planner. The police have also arrested the five owners and architect of the building and they have been remanded in custody. The district administration has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of each of the deceased. The local organisations in Dharwad and social activists, however, have criticised the government for not handing out proper compensation.
DHARWAD DC BREAKS DOWN
Dharwad DC Deepa Cholan broke down at the crash site while addressing the rescue team during a send off on Monday. While talking about Prema Unkal who lost her daughter in the tragedy, the DC could not hold back her tears. She, however, continued to talk and thanked all those who were involved in the rescue ops. “Rescue teams have done a great job ... they rescued more than 60 people,” she said.