x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Delhi collapse highlights poor state of capital's buildings

Seven killed and dozens injured, as critics accused the city authorities of ignoring the state of Old Delhi's dilapidated buildings.

Rescue workers search the rubble at the site of a building collapse in the old quarters of New Delhi. Kevin Frayer / AP Photo
Rescue workers search the rubble at the site of a building collapse in the old quarters of New Delhi. Kevin Frayer / AP Photo

NEW DELHI // Broken beams and mounds of clay lay in heaps yesterday where a three-storey residential building collapsed in the Indian capital, killing at least seven people and highlighting the dangerous housing conditions among the city's poor.

Residents said they feared some people may still be trapped in the rubble from the decades-old building that fell on Tuesday night in Old Delhi around the time when people would have been home for dinner or getting ready for bed.

Rescuers using small diggers and pickaxes to clear the debris yesterday freed a young boy trapped as he was passing by the building when it fell in the congested Chandni Mahal area of Old Delhi.

The area, known for its overcrowded buildings and loose wires criss-crossing narrow streets, is too small to bring in larger mechanical diggers to help with the rescue.

Locals said several families lived in the building's two levels above an unoccupied ground floor used for storage. They said they believed construction work in two adjacent buildings may have weakened the structure that fell.

Police said seven people were killed and dozens injured, including four critically.

Authorities were investigating, while critics accused the city of ignoring the state of Old Delhi's dilapidated buildings.

Poor construction material and inadequate foundations are often blamed for collapses in India. A building collapsed in November, killing about 70 people in the capital, where prices for both land and rent are at premium levels because of a population quickly increasing with migrants seeking work.