The committee formed by the Noida authority to look into Tuesday’s wall collapse incident at Jalvayu Vihar Apartments in Noida’s Sector 21 that killed four daily wagers and injured eight more, visited the site on Thursday to assess the condition of the wall and also the drain repair work that was going on when the tragedy occurred.
A portion of the boundary wall of Jalvayu Vihar had collapsed on Tuesday morning while the workers were cleaning a drain adjacent to it. Four daily wagers were crushed to death, while eight more standing nearby sustained injuries.
The drain repair was being carried out by a contractor hired by the Noida authority. The workers said barely an hour before the collapse, they had warned the contractor that the wall was weak and tilting. But they claimed that he insisted that they continue with the work and even threatened to dock their wages if they didn’t.
The Gautam Budh Nagar police has registered an FIR of death to negligence against Sundar Yadav, the work contractor named by the injured workers, as well as Gul Mohammed, the labour contractor who supplied the workers, two of whom were minors and counted among the dead.
The Noida authority has formed a committee headed by assistant CEO Manvendra Singhto fix responsibility for the tragedy. The committee, comprising two assistant CEOs, and an officer on special duty, besides officials from the planning department, visited the spot on Thursday to assess the wall and the drain work and also to speak to eyewitnesses.
“We wanted to check if the wall was tilted and weak or whether it had any other issues. It was built a long time ago, but from the portion that still stands, it did not appear to be tilting. The drain was also built very close to the wall that affected its foundation. That should not have been done in the first place,” said Singh.
According to residents from Jalvayu Vihar, the wall was built around 25 years ago. However, the drain next to it was built three years ago by the Noida authority. Officials said they will be checking if there was any need to remove the supporting walls and whether the work was being done according to the scope of the contract.
“We are checking the technical details and scope of the tender. We visited the spot to see if the drain repair needed manual cleaning at all and if mechanical work would have sufficed. The contractor also should not have started the work during the rains. Often, after rain, when there is sunlight and the gases from the drain evaporate, it weakens the structure,” added Singh.
However, when asked why no official from the authority was monitoring the work, he said the matter is being probed.
Singh further said that the committee plans to include a technical expert to understand the exact cause for the collapse. This could be an independent expert from a private company or an internal engineering expert, officials said.
Administration sets up another probe
Meanwhile, the district administration also set up an independent probe into the wall collapse on Thursday and said it will be headed by additional district magistrate Vandita Srivastav. The committee has been told to submit a report within a week.
“The ADM is also the officer in charge of disaster management. She will investigate the wall collapse incident and prepare a report so that action can be taken accordingly,” said Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate Suhas LY.