Indian building collapses kill at least 19 people | News | DW | 29.06.2014
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Indian building collapses kill at least 19 people

At least 19 people have been killed in building collapses in two Indian cities over the weekend. The incidents highlight lax regulations in the country, where such disasters are common.

An 11-story apartment building collapsed in the southern Indian city of Chennai late on Saturday, killing at least nine people, according to police.

The collapse occurred just hours after a four-story, 50-year-old building came down in the capital, New Delhi, claiming at least 10 lives.

Rescuers in Chennai are continuing to search for dozens of workers who are thought to have been buried in rubble when the building, which was still under construction, toppled during monsoon rains.

The head of the rescue operation, S.P. Selvam, said it might take two to three days to clear the debris.

Most of the victims of the disaster were reportedly people working on the nearly completed building, but some passersbys are thought to have also been killed or injured while taking shelter at the site from a heavy rainstorm.

Police on Sunday detained two construction company directors for questioning in connection with the collapse.

Substandard materials

The building collapse in New Delhi, which occurred earlier on Saturday, took place in a poor quarter of the city.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the accident was triggered by construction work on an adjacent plot.

Construction collapses are relatively common in India due to a high demand for housing coupled with lax regulations, which leads to some builders using substandard materials or adding unauthorized extra floors.

The country saw its worst collapse in decades in April last year when an eight-story building being constructed illegally in the Mumbai suburb of Thane caved in, killing 74 people.

tj/ipj (AP, dpa)