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Death toll in Kolkata building collapse rises to five; prompter held

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Shillong, March 18: Five persons were killed and several others were injured after a five-storey under-construction building collapsed in the Garden Reach area of the city on Monday.

As per sources, a part of the five-storey building collapsed on the adjacent slum at Hazari Mollah Bagan in Garden Reach at around midnight on Sunday.

Following instructions from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the police arrested the promoter of the building, Mohammad Wasim, on Monday.

The administration fears that the number of casualties may go up as the condition of some of those injured is critical, while a few more may be still trapped under the debris.

Those deceased have been identified as Hasina Khatun (55), Shama Begum (54), Akbar Ali (34), Mohammad Wasik (30), and Rizwan Alam (22).

Sixteen persons, including three children, are currently undergoing treatment at a city hospital.

Sources in the fire services department said that it might take some time to complete the rescue operation.

State minister and Mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Firhad Hakim, who is also the Trinamool Congress MLA from the area, said that the state government has decided to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the deceased’s family, and Rs 1 lakh each to the injured.

Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, claimed that the accident in Garden Reach was inevitable considering the rampant illegal constructions in the area.

“More than 800 illegal constructions exist in the Garden Reach area. The area is the home turf of Mayor Firhad Hakim. Can he feign ignorance? Is it believable that such illegal constructions cropped up under his nose without his knowledge? How shameful it is for the culprit to disguise as the saviour and grab the footage during relief operations,” Adhikari questioned. (IANS)

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