Bulldozer At Indore Temple After 36 Deaths, Crackdown On Illegal Structure
Days after a tragic accident that killed 36 people here, more than five bulldozers rolled into the Beleshwar Mahadev temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore today to demolish illegal construction. A large contingent of municipal and police officials reached the temple on Monday morning to ensure the action was carried out without any disturbance.
Personnel from four police stations have been deployed to prevent any possible resistance. The Deputy Municipal Commissioner, District Magistrate, and other officials are also present at the spot.
The tragedy, in which some families lost more than one member, could have been averted had the Indore Municipal Corporation acted on complaints filed by residents, an NDTV investigation showed. The temple area that collapsed was an illegal structure and the Indore Municipal Corporation had marked the cover of the stepwell for demolition last year, but they backed down after the temple trust warned them religious sentiments would be hurt.
The stepwell roof broke due to the weight of the crowds on Ram Navami. A havan was being performed when the incident happened.
Managed by a private trust, the temple is located at Sneh Nagar, one of the oldest residential colonies in Indore.
The 200-year-old stepwell was covered with four iron girders, a thin layer of concrete and tiles incapable of holding the weight of the crowd that gathered to offer puja on Ram Navami.
The walls had come up around the floor. A tin shed was set up as the roof of the temple. People gathered at Shri Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple for a havan (ritual) did not know that the ground beneath their feet hid a deep well amid rusty iron grills.
On Sunday, Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressed District Collectors virtually from his residence office and instructed them to identify traditional ancient wells and stepwells and prepare a list. He told them to stay particularly alert about wells and stepwells which have been covered without filling. If there is such a place, arrangements should be made by opening them so that there is no possibility of an accident. If necessary, boundary walls, fencing, or railing should be made around such places.
Information about wells and stepwells should also be obtained from the local elders. It should be ensured that an incident like Indore does not recur anywhere in the state. He also told them to be careful about open boreholes. Such boreholes located on government and private land should be identified. Action should be taken against the concerned officer-employee in case of an open borehole on government land, and on the concerned landowner if the borehole is found open on private land.
After his order, the Indore district administration also issued an order under section 144 of CrPC to identify and free all stepwells from encroachment. The order, released by collector Ilayaraja T, says that a survey of all stepwells and wells will be carried out across the district and those that have dilapidated covers will be marked dangerous.
IMC officials will also survey 629 water bodies in Indore The name of the place and owner of the stepwell will be recorded, along with the land survey number and photograph.
A police case has been filed against two officials of the temple trust. Two municipal officials have been suspended for not removing illegal construction. 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 and also ordered a magisterial probe.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced compensation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the families of the accident victims.
A tweet on the official handle of the Prime Minister’s Office read; “An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh (each) from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased in the unfortunate tragedy in Indore today. The injured would be given Rs 50,000 (each): PM.”
The article is published through a synidicated feed and TOV attributes the same to the NDTV.