Indore: Atleast fourteen persons died after the roof of a ‘bawdi’ (well) collapsed during a ‘havan’, a fire ritual, on Ram Navami at a temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city on Thursday, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.
Chouhan told reporters in the state capital that more than 11 persons have died in the bawdi collapse tragedy at the Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Indore’s Patel Nagar. The CM said he has ordered a probe into the incident.
According to Chouhan, 19 persons were rescued and taken to the hospital but one of them succumbed to his injuries.
The chief minister has also announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for every injured person.
Earlier, Indore Collector Illaiyaraja T had given the death toll as 14.
Expressing anguish soon after the accident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted, “Extremely pained by the mishap in Indore. Spoke to CM Shivraj Chouhan Ji and took an update on the situation. The state government is spearheading rescue and relief work at a quick pace. My prayers with all those affected and their families.” The temple was constructed by laying a slab over the bawdi in a covered campus, home minister Mishra said. A probe has been ordered into the matter, particularly to find out how the temple was allowed to be constructed over a bawdi, Mishra said.
Nearly 30-35 devotees fell into the well after the accident at the temple, said Indore Police Commissioner Makrand Deoskar citing eyewitness accounts. Earlier, a witness had put the number at nearly 25.
An eyewitness said that during the religious programme, there was a huge crowd of devotees on the roof of the bawdi in the temple. As the structure could not bear the load of so many people, it caved in, he said.
After the accident, people gathered around the temple looking for their family members who were present on the premises at the time of the tragedy.
Kantibhai Patel, president of Patel Nagar Residents Association, said no ambulance reached the spot for an hour even after authorities were alerted about the accident.
Officials have identified the deceased persons as Lakshmi Patel (70), Bharti Kukreja (58), Jaivanti Khhobchandani (84), Daksha Patel (60), Madhu Bhammani (48), Manisha Motwani (40), Ganga Patel (58), Kanak Patel (32), Pushpa Patel (49), Bhumika Khanchandani (31) and Indra Kumar Harwani (53).
CM Chouhan also spoke to the Indore collector and police commissioner over the phone and directed them to speed up the rescue operation, said an official. Efforts are on with full might to rescue the trapped people, he added.