Indian temple well collapse: Death toll rises to 35, search op still underway
The death toll in the temple stepwell collapse incident in Madhya Pradesh's Indore in India has increased to 35, according to officials. Indore Collector Dr Ilayaraja T told news agency ANI that 35 people have died in the incident while 14 people have been rescued so far.
A rescue operation led by the Madhya Pradesh police, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Emergency and Response Force (SDERF) and district administration is still underway.
"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," ANI quoted Indore Collector as saying.
On Thusday, the roof of a stepwell caved in during special pooja of Ram Navami at Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal Temple in Indore.
"The 18 hours long rescue operation started at around 12:30 on Thursday, and is still ongoing," Collector Ilayaraja T added.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered in the matter.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced ₹5 lakh exgratia to the kin of the deceased while ₹50,000 to the injured. The exgratia of ₹2 lakh will also be given through Prime Minister Relief Fund.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to 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," PM Modi said in a tweet.
Questions are now being raised as to how did the administration allow construction of a slab atop an ancient well. The head priest of the temple Laxminarayan Sharma said the roof was constructed without any concrete support by putting stone slabs and concrete by fitting iron rods.