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Noida: Union Demands Compensation for Victims in Boundary Wall Collapse Incident

The tragedy, which took place near Jalvayu Vihar in Noida Sector-21, led to the deaths of four construction workers.
Rescue operation underway after a portion of a boundary wall of a housing society collapsed, at Jal Vayu Vihar in Noida

Rescue operation underway after a portion of a boundary wall of a housing society collapsed, at Jal Vayu Vihar in Noida. Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: Four construction workers were killed, while several others were left injured after a portion of a boundary wall of a housing society in Uttar Pradesh's Noida collapsed on Tuesday morning.

The incident, which took place near Jalvayu Vihar in Noida Sector-21, has turned the spotlight yet again on lax safety regulations for workers at construction sites, a union leader said, who demanded compensation for the victims.

“Rescue and relief measures have been launched. Fire department personnel and police, including senior officers, are at the spot,” news agency PTI quoted a police official as saying in the morning. As bulldozers were brought into action soon after the incident took place, of the 12 people pulled out of the debris, four were found to be dead, this official informed.

Several more workers are feared to be trapped under the rubble.

District Magistrate Suhas LY, who rushed to the spot after the incident, informed that the Noida Development Authority had given a contract to repair the drainage system near the apartment complex, according to a report by NDTV. “We have been told that when labourers were pulling out bricks, the wall collapsed. It will be investigated,” he was quoted as saying in the same report.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath condoled the loss of lives in the incident. In a tweet by his office, it was informed that the senior officers were asked to reach the spot and begin the relief work immediately.

Fatal incidents at construction sites are not new, with state authorities often accused of not ensuring enforcement of standards for the safety of workers. Earlier this week, in Gujarat's Ahmedabad, the crashing of an elevator at the construction site left eight workers dead. Likewise, several were injured as a four-storey construction building collapsed earlier this month in the national capital.

Siddheshwar Shukla of Rajdhani Nirman Mazdoor Union, a Delhi-NCR-based trade union of construction workers, rued on Tuesday that such incidents are only increasing in the country, the responsibility of which lies on the private developers for using poor quality construction material, and also on the state government authorities.

Asked about the safety of construction workers, Shukla highlighted that The Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996, provides for workers’ safety, health and welfare measures. “The State governments are required to frame and enforce the rules regarding the safety of construction workers and the equipment and appliances necessary to be provided to them during work,” he said.

However, such rules are seldom followed within the industry, where work is often subcontracted to smaller construction agencies, he added.

To be sure, NewsClick couldn't independently ascertain whether Tuesday's incident in Noida also involved workers who were equipped with the necessary tools to ensure their safety.

Rakesh Sisodia, an RWA member of Jalvayu Vihar, however, alleged that the boundary walls in the housing society's premises are built using materials of poor quality. "A wall near another block was also collapsed some days ago, but no serious action was taken even then," he alleged. The residents are charged a maintenance cost, but no such measures are taken by the developers, he added.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Shukla of the construction workers' union also demanded that the deceased workers must be paid compensation. According to him, construction workers registered with the welfare board under the 1996 Act are covered under schemes which ensure coverage of Rs. 2 lakh per annum. "In case the deceased was not registered, a special case can be made by the welfare board in UP to grant their families compensation," he said.

Alternatively, the victims can also approach the High Court with a writ petition alleging responsibility of the state government and local authorities and request the court to direct compensation to be paid to them, Shukla added.

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