Death Count In Indore Temple Tragedy Rises To 35, Rescue Op Still On
As many as 35 people have been killed after the roof of a stepwell collapsed at a temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore on Thursday. The stepwell roof at the Beleshwar Mahadev temple could not sustain the weight of a large crowd on Ram Navami.
“Total of 35 people died, one missing and 14 people have been rescued. Two people returned home safely after getting treatment. The search operation to trace persons reported missing is underway,” Indore Collector Ilayaraja T said, as quoted by news agency ANI.
“The 18 hours long rescue operation started at around 12:30 on Thursday, and is still ongoing,” he added.
Managed by a private trust, the temple is located at Sneh Nagar, one of the oldest residential colonies in Indore. Sources have said the tragedy could have been averted had the Indore Municipal Corporation acted on the complaints filed by residents.
NDTV accessed a copy of a municipality notice to the Beleshwar Mahadev temple’s trust in April 2022 over complaints by locals who allege that the temple was built on a stepwell in an encroached park. The municipal body had marked the well’s cover for demolition but backed down after being warned by the trust that such a move will hurt religious sentiments.
On Ram Navami, a havan was being performed on the concrete slab covering a stepwell which also served as the platform of the temple. The concrete slab was not strong enough to hold the weight of 30-40 people, resulting in devotees plunging into the 40-foot-deep stepwell.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams are engaged in the rescue operations.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the families of the victims and Rs 50,000 to those injured in the freak accident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Mr Chouhan to take stock of the situation.
“Extremely pained by the mishap in Indore. Spoke to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and took an update on the situation. The State Government is spearheading rescue and relief work at a quick pace. My prayers are with all those affected and their families,” the PM tweeted.
The Beleshwar Mahadev temple was constructed after covering the stepwell about four decades ago.
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