Old building in Kashi Vishwanath Corridor collapses, 2 labourers killed

By Express News Service
VARANASI: A major part of an old building, located within the under construction Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor Project in Varanasi, collapsed on Tuesday  killing two labourers and hurting at least six.

The two deceased and the injured men all hailed from Malda in West Bengal. The deceased, both cousins, have been identified as Aminul Momin (45) and Ejaz-ul-Momin (28). The injured men have been admitted at Varanasi Divisional Hospital, where two of them are stated to be serious.

The mishap happened at around 3.15 am when the labourers were sleeping under the open sky due to excessive humidity. Suddenly, part of old two storeyed Goenka Chhatrawas (which earlier housed Sanskrit students) collapsed. The labourers sleeping and sitting there came under the collapsed portion of the building. JCB machines engaged in construction work in the under construction corridor were used to rescue the labourers trapped in the debris.

Two of the labourers couldn’t be saved, while other injured labouerers are under treatment at the hospital.

According to senior officials in the temple city, Rs 5 lakh each compensation has been announced to dependents of the deceased labourers, out of which Rs 1 lakh will be paid by PSP Projects Private Limited and remaining Rs 4 lakh by the temple trust.

Also, Rs 50,000 each has been announced for the injured labourers, out of which Rs 25,000 each will be paid by the Ahmadabad-based construction company engaged in the Corridor construction work and equal sum by the temple trust.

According to a senior Varanasi district official, PM Modi rang the Varanasi divisional commissioner Dipak Agrawal after the mishap and enquired about the entire episode. He also assured all possible help from the PMO.

As per informed sources, the labourers engaged in construction work under the Corridor project stayed and slept in the old two storeyed Goneka Library building, but owing to excessive humidity, they opted to sleep outside near the adjoining Goenka Chhatrawas. Both buildings were constructed around 95 years ago with funding from Kolkata-based jute industrialist Gauri Shankar Goenka.

The foundation of the Rs 600 crore plus corridor project was laid by the local MP and PM Narendra Modi in March 2018. An important part of the project is to develop pathways connecting the imposing Ganga Ghats with the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Over 300 buildings and houses have been purchased within the proposed corridor territory by the Board supervising the project.