Ghaziabad crematorium collapse: three officers arrested

Ghaziabad, January 4

Three civic officials were arrested on Monday over the collapse of a crematorium roof that claimed 24 lives here as tension spiralled in the area with the families of the victims blocking the Delhi-Meerut highway by placing two bodies on the road to press for their demand for higher compensation.

They lifted the blockade and agreed to cremate the bodies after hours of protest as officials agreed for Rs 10 lakh compensation and a government job for each victim’s family, said Iraj Raja, Superintendent of Police (Rural).

He said that Muradnagar Nagar Palika Executive Officer Niharika Singh, Junior Engineer Chandra Pal and Supervisor Ashish were arrested this morning as they were involved in the tendering process for building the structure that collapsed on Sunday, killing 24 people and injuring 17 others.

Police teams are also conducting raids at possible hideouts of contractor Ajay Tyagi to arrest him, said Raja.

Officials said construction work for the shelter at the crematorium, estimated to cost around Rs 55 crore, was started two months back and it was opened for public nearly 15 days ago.

The road blockade near the Muradnagar Police Station led to a massive traffic jam with hundreds of vehicles getting piled up during the morning rush hour.

The protesters were insisting District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey be called for a talk with them so that they can register their demands, including Rs 20 lakh compensation for each of the grieving families and a government job for one of their members.

The DM, Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani and other senior officials later reached the protest site and spoke to the protesters over their demands, officials said.

Urban Development Minister and Ghaziabad district in-charge Suresh Khanna also visited here and met the family members of the victims, the DM told PTI.

He said a proposal on Rs 10 lakh compensation and a government job in each family has been forwarded to the government and the administration would also arrange free education for the children of the deceased till they become adults.

On the funerals of the 24 bodies, he said 11 were cremated at the Ukhlarsi village cremation ground and the rest at their native places. Their family members have taken away the bodies, he said.

Officials also said the government had agreed to provide relief to the injured after assessing their level of handicap.

Twenty-four people, most of them attending a funeral, were killed and 17 others injured when the roof of a shelter at a cremation ground in Muradnagar here collapsed on Sunday.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on Sunday announced Rs 2 lakh as financial relief for the families of each man killed.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu lashed out at the Yogi Adityanath government over the incident, saying it was a “living example of organised corruption” in the state.

In a statement issued here, he said the roof collapse showed “sub-standard material” was being used in construction works, and alleged government officials and contractors were putting the lives of people in danger for earning themselves “commission”.

He claimed the local people had complained about the quality of work in Muradnagar crematorium, but their pleas were ignored.

He demanded the government should pay Rs 25 lakh compensation to those killed, and Rs 10 lakh, and proper treatment, to those injured. PTI

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