Punjab: Teacher dies as roof of Ludhiana school collapses - Hindustan Times

Punjab: Teacher dies as roof of Ludhiana school collapses

By, Ludhiana
Aug 24, 2023 12:55 AM IST

Chief minister Bhagwant Mann has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident; an FIR has been registered against the contractor

A 45-year-old woman teacher died while three others were injured after the roof of a government school collapsed in Baddowal on Ferozepur road here on Wednesday, said the police.

The school in Ludhiana. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)
The school in Ludhiana. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Panic gripped the school before teams of the Indo Tibetan Police Force (ITBP) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel were called in to rescue the four teachers after the incident occurred at 12.45 pm. The teachers were pulled out from the rubble and rushed to hospital, where one of them, Ravinder Kaur, was declared brought dead.

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The school building, constructed in 1960, was in a dilapidated state yet construction was underway on the first floor when its lintel collapsed. At the time of the incident, all four teachers had come to the staff room for lunch after their respective classes. Eyewitnesses said labourers were laying tiles on the roof of the first floor room when the roof above collapsed.

“With the impact, the roof of the staff room on the ground floor also came crashing down on the four teachers. Soon after the incident, the school staff promptly evacuated the entire building, emphasising students’ safety,” said eyewitnesses.

School staff immediately raised an alarm and informed the police and district administration. The ITBP camp, located near the school, initiated a rescue operation. Rescue personnel from the NDRF also arrived at the spot to rescue all four teachers from the debris. While three teachers were successfully rescued and rushed to the hospital, Ravinder Kaur could not be saved.

The victim of Housing Board Colony, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The injured staff members have been identified as Narinderjit Kaur, Indu Rani, and Sukhjeet Kaur and their condition is reported to be stable and out of danger.

The school, which was one of the sixteen selected for development as a school of eminence by the Punjab government, has now become a subject of scrutiny.

Following the tragic incident, a magisterial probe has been ordered by chief minister Bhagwant Mann. Additionally, an FIR has been registered against the contractor responsible for the ongoing renovation work on the school premises.

Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Deep Karan Singh (under-training SHO Dakha police station) said an FIR under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) was registered against the contractor on the principal’s statement and investigation is on.

Stern action will be taken against accused: DC

Deputy commissioner Surabhi Malik assured that stern action will be taken against those found responsible for the mishap.

The incident caused panic among parents, who rushed to the school to ensure the safety of their children. NDRF officials said the teachers were buried under multiple layers of debris. The teachers suffered multiple injuries.

The school staff on the pretext of anonymity said the whole building needs to be razed and reconstructed.

“The officials made the contractor construct new rooms on the old structure. The old structure failed to lift the weight of new construction resulting in the mishap,” said the staff.

They said Ravinder Kaur had been transferred to Ludhiana from Government Senior Secondary School, Noorpur Bet, just three months ago. She is survived by her husband and a teenage son. Shell-shocked teachers were seen wailing in the school as they received the news of her death and could not believe the incident.

‘Govt focusing on cosmetic improvements’

Member of Parliament Ravneet Bittu demanded a thorough investigation into the matter, expressing concern over the safety of school buildings. He called attention to the ongoing construction work and questioned why classes were not suspended until the renovation work was completed. “I have been repeatedly asking the state government to keep a check on school buildings and to repair them, but to no avail,” said the MP.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali criticised the government’s approach to school development, labeling it as mere cosmetic improvements while neglecting crucial safety measures.

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    Tarsem Singh Deogan is a senior reporter at Ludhiana. He has 16 years of experience in journalism. He has covered all beats and now focuses on crime reporting.

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