Hunt on to nab contractor in Ludhiana school roof collapse case - Hindustan Times
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Hunt on to nab contractor in Ludhiana school roof collapse case

By, Ludhiana
Aug 25, 2023 12:50 AM IST

The school was in the inventory of 16 education facilities of Ludhiana dist which were selected to be developed as School of Eminence

A day after 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, police are trying to apprehend the accused contractor, Anmol Katyal of Jagraon, officials said.

A woman teacher died while 3 others were injured after the roof of a government school collapsed in Ludhiana on Thursday (HT Photo)
A woman teacher died while 3 others were injured after the roof of a government school collapsed in Ludhiana on Thursday (HT Photo)

The school building, constructed in 1960, was in a dilapidated state and construction work was underway on the first floor when its lintel collapsed around 12.45 pm. At the time of the incident, all four teachers had come to the staffroom for lunch after their respective classes. Eyewitnesses said labourers were laying tiles on the first floor when its roof collapsed.

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A case under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was filed at Dakha Police Station of Ludhiana Rural against the contractor on Wednesday. The accused’s father Kala Katyal was a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor from Jagraon.

Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Deep Karan Singh said that a hunt is on to arrest the accused.

The School was in the inventory of 16 schools of the district which were selected to be developed as School of Eminence by the Punjab government. Under the project, 117 government schools in 23 districts are to be upgraded. A budget provision of 200 crore was made for the School of Eminence project.

On Thursday, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM, West) Harjinder Singh didn’t allow a team sent by district education officer (DEO, Secondary) Dimple Madaan to collect school records.

When contacted, SDM Harjinder Singh confirmed that the DEO had sent some people from the department to collect the record from the school, but were sent them back.

“A magisterial probe is underway in this matter, and no one can send or receive any record without my written orders. I will complete the probe and submit the report to the deputy commissioner,” the SDM said. Chief minister Bhagwant Mann ordered a magisterial probe on Wednesday. DEO Madaan was not available for a comment despite repeated attempts.

As per the FIR lodged against the contractor by the school principal Munila Arora, the construction work was going on for the past 10 days, and at least 16 labourers were deputed.

“The tragedy happened due to the negligence of the contractor who kept piling bricks, soil and other construction materials on the terrace to save time and money, but since the existing structure was already old, it gave in and the roof came down crashing on the staff room on the ground floor where four teachers were sitting,” the principal said in the FIR.

As per officials, the contract was given by the department of rural development and panchayats.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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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