Solan building collapse: New details about structure emerge

India

16 Jul 2019

Solan: Multi-story building, which collapsed, was once a two-room structure

On Sunday, a four-story building collapsed in Himachal Pradesh's Solan, killing 14 people, including 13 army personnel, and raising pertinent questions on poor infrastructure dotting hill stations.

Now, an Indian Express report has revealed that the ill-fated building was once just a two-room structure.

As years passed, the owner built more floors, setting the stage for the tragedy.

Here's what we know so far.

What happened

Context: Soldiers went for lunch, building collapsed, several died

Context: Soldiers went for lunch, building collapsed, several died

The building, Sahaj Tandoori Dhaba, was operational since 2010. Located at Runan Ghoro village, it housed a guesthouse and a dhaba.

Reportedly, jawans belonging to the Dagshai cantonment had just entered for lunch when suddenly the floor housing the dhaba started shaking.

Before anyone could realize what happened, the building fell like a house of cards.

The owner's wife was among those who died.

Building

Building's construction shows the tragedy was waiting to happen

Apparently, the building's top floor had four rooms, and in two of them, owner Balbir Singh alias Sahil lived with his family.

The eating joint operated from the lower portion. He also built two-three rooms below the eating joint.

If locals are to be believed, the structure came down because Singh kept constructing floors on the same foundation which could only sustain two rooms.

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Meanwhile, local said such structures are common in the area

"Singh had recently rented out the lower portion of the building to a Patiala resident on lease period of 11 months. There was nothing unusual. We have seen here so many triple-story buildings being constructed overnight. We did not expect this tragedy," a local said.

Defense

Singh, who lost his wife, claimed there was nothing illegal

Singh, who lost his wife, claimed there was nothing illegal

However, Singh had a different story to tell. He said there was nothing illegal about the construction and he was getting the job done at a slow pace.

He revealed he bought the land for commercial and residential purposes in 2010.

"If the building was weak, do you think I would have been staying with my entire family on the top floor," he asked.

Details

Facing heat, Singh blamed another construction for collapse

After the tragedy, Singh was booked under IPC Section 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 304A (causing death due to negligence).

However, he feels he isn't responsible for it.

According to Singh, a construction which was happening close to his building is to be blamed. He said heavy equipment was being used for construction which affected his building's foundation.

Construction coupled with heavy rain led to tragedy: Singh

"Heavy machines, including JCB and trucks, used to pass by my building. I am sure the heavy vehicles made an adverse impact on the slope and the recent heavy rain weakened the foundations of my building," Singh told the daily.

Statement

Apparently, Singh should have informed tourism department about construction

Meanwhile, local tehsildar (revenue officer) Gurmeet Negi, said the building was nestled in the rural area, hence, didn't come in the jurisdiction of Municipal Council.

"We will have to see if Balbir Singh informed about the construction of his eating joint along with rooms, which was being rented out to people for short stays, to the state tourism department," Negi added.

Separately, others opined state government should wake up now

"Things have changed over the years. People from the other states come here and run their businesses, especially in hotel and tourism industry, without following any rules. This tragedy should be an eye-opener for the state government," Aruna Jaiswal, who runs Misty Meadows Resort, said.

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Most asked questions

When did the building collapse in Solan?

How many people died in the building collapse incident?

Who owned the building?

Has any action been taken against Balbir Singh?

More questions

When did the building collapse in Solan?

Asked 2019-07-16 20:28:34 by Shaurya Bose

Answered by NewsBytes

A four-story building collapsed in Solan on Sunday, July 14.

How many people died in the building collapse incident?

Asked 2019-07-16 20:28:34 by Vivaan Rangarajan

Answered by NewsBytes

14 people, including 13 armymen, died in the incident. The building owner's wife also passed away.

Who owned the building?

Asked 2019-07-16 20:28:34 by Aradhya Mistry

Answered by NewsBytes

The building was owned by a man named Balbir Singh.

Has any action been taken against Balbir Singh?

Asked 2019-07-16 20:28:34 by Diya Rao

Answered by NewsBytes

Yes. Balbir Singh was booked under IPC Section 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 304A (causing death due to negligence).

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