UP roof collapse: CM issues orders invoking NSA against accused, relief hiked to Rs 10 lakh

Express News Service
LUCKNOW: While contractor Ajay Tyagi, the main accused in the roof collapse at a crematorium in UP’s Muradnagar town, was arrested past Monday midnight, UP CM Yogi Adityanath, on Tuesday, issued directives to invoke the National Security Act (NSA) against all the accused responsible for the mishap. With Tyagi’s arrest, the number of persons arrested so far in connection with the incident has gone to four.

Earlier, on Monday, three persons including the Executive Officer of Muradnagar Municipal Board Niharika Singh Chauhan, Junior Engineer Chandrapal Singh and supervisor Ashish were taken into custody in connection with the mishap.

In another step, the CM increased the ex-gratia amount to be given to the next of kin of the deceased to Rs 10 lakh and a dwelling to those who were homeless and had lost family members in the accident. The CM also ordered the authorities concerned at the district administration of Ghaziabad and Municipal Board of Muradnagar to blacklist the contractor who had made the roof of the shed which collapsed on Sunday killing 25 people and leaving around 50 injured.

Earlier, an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the victim’s families was announced on Sunday. Moreover, taking a step further, a notice was issued to the Ghaziabad DM and Divisional Commissioner to explain the lapses despite the clear-cut orders making the physical verification of new construction worth above Rs 50 lakh mandatory for authorities. The orders in this connection were issued by the state government in September.

“Both the officials have been asked to explain how the lapses occurred despite firm orders for physical verification of new constructions. More heads are likely to roll in connection with the Muradnagar mishap,” said a highly placed source.

Meanwhile, contractor Ajay Tyagi, who had constructed the shed at the cremation ground at a cost of Rs 55-60 lakh just two months back, was arrested by the Ghaziabad police late in the night following the announcement of a reward of Rs 25000 for his arrest on Monday evening.

The shed at the cremation ground was thrown open for the public just a fortnight back. On Monday, a junior engineer was among three people arrested by the police for the accident, which has resulted in the loss of 25 lives. Police have also set up a two-member committee to probe into the accident, as family members of the victims took to the streets to protest, resulting in the deployment of a heavy contingent of police.

The roof had collapsed at around 11:30am at the Ukhlarsi cremation ground, when the last rites of fruit seller Jai Ram, 65, who had died on Saturday night, were being conducted. Around 50-60 people were present at the funeral. Scores got trapped under the debris and could be rescued only after the local police and administration arrived at the spot. A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was also dispatched to the collapse site.

Ghaziabad Police had registered a first information report (FIR) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt to any person by doing any act rashly or negligently as to endanger human lives), 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) etc.