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Wall collapse in Pune buries 15 sleeping workers from Bihar

All the victims belonged to impoverished villages of Baghar-Datiyan and Baisbighi in Katihar district of Bihar

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Wall collapse in Pune buries 15 sleeping workers from Bihar
death by debris Rescue workers at the accident site in Pune
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To escape poverty and find means of sustenance, Bhima Das had moved to Pune, 2,000 km west of his home. He had brought along wife Sangeeta and kids Sonali and Abhijeet.

The migrant family's dreams of leading a life filled with fewer uncertainties evaporated after a wall came crashing down on a few shanties, snuffing out 15 lives, including that of Bhima and his wife and children.

All the victims belonged to impoverished villages of Baghar-Datiyan and Baisbighi in Katihar district of Bihar, said officials.

"My son used to live in Pune with his family. All of them died," said Bhima's father, struggling to hold back his tears. Their entire village fell silent as the news of the tragedy travelled from Maharashtra.

Another family that was left hollow was that of Pawan Sharma. "He used to work as a construction worker and had been Pune for a very long time. He had come home just a few days back," a family member said. Pawan is survived by wife and a child of one-and-a-half years.

Around 1.45 am, a 15-foot-high wall dividing the car parking area at Alcon Stylus – a multi-story residential apartment in Kondhwa – collapsed following torrential rains, burying tin-roofed huts, said fire official J Gaekwad. Rescuers pulled out alive three people from the rubble, he added.

"I woke up to a thundering crash. I thought the building had fallen on us," said Bimal Sharma, one of the survivors.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased.

"Extremely saddened to know about the loss of lives in the Kondhwa, Pune wall collapse incident. My deepest condolences to the families and praying for a speedy recovery of the injured. Directed Pune Collector to conduct an in-depth enquiry," tweeted the CM.

Bihar government has declared a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured. "We have received the names and details of all the deceased. The bodies will be brought to their native villages on Sunday via air ambulance. We will see to it that the families of the victims get timely help, compensation and support," said Punam Kumari, collector of Katihar.

The Pune police have registered a case of culpable homicide against the directors of two construction firms, and arrested two builders, while the civic body has ordered stoppage of work at the crash site.

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