Avalanche of potatoes sparks chaos with 14 killed under crushed roof


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Sacks of potatoes stored in an illegally built storage loft have been blamed for a tragic incident which has occurred in the Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh, India. The weight of the spud is believed to have caused the roof of the structure to cave in causing the deaths of at least 14 people and injuring nearly a dozen others.

According to the police, the roof of the cold storage chamber was built without planning approval three months ago and was in disrepair, causing it to buckle under the weight of the potato sacks.

In total, 14 of the 24 survivors pulled from the rubble last Friday have since died, according to The Tribune, India’s largest English daily.

Meanwhile, four individuals are being treated at a hospital in Moradabad, according to District Magistrate Manish Bansal, while six have been discharged.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Shalabh Mathur added that the rescue effort, which had lasted all night, is now in its final stages.

He announced on Sunday: “The incident happened around 11:30am. We are trying to evacuate the trapped people as soon as possible.”

Rescue teams included units from the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force.

There were also as many as 21 ambulance crews in attendance.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath paid a visit to those hospitalised and pledged that next of kin are to be given the equivalent of around £2,000.

Those left critically injured are set to receive Rs 50,000, or close to £500, and their medical bills paid for.

Meanwhile, a committee has been sent up by local authorities to investigate the cause of the tragic incident.

Adityanath wrote on Twitter: “Meeting the people injured in the cold store accident at Chandausi in district Sambhal today, inquired about their well-being and their treatment from the doctors,’

“All are being treated on priority. May Lord Shri Ram grant speedy recovery to all, this is my prayer.”

Deputy Inspector General of Police Mathur said that case has been launched against the building’s owners.

He explained: “Under Section 304, an (first information report) was filed at Chandausi police station against Ankur Agarwal and Rohit Agarwal, the owners of the building,

“An inquiry has been ordered into lapses, if any, in the administrative process.”

Mathur continued: “As per the information that we have received, the building was new and items were stored without taking requisite permissions and clearances. The cold storage was filled beyond capacity because of which it collapsed.”

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