BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited Indore on Friday, a day after 36 lives were lost in a tragic temple stepwell accident.
The concrete slab-roof covering an ancient stepwell ('bavdi') caved in during the Ram Navami celebration at the Beleshwar Jhulelal Mahadev Temple in the city's Patel Nagar area, on Thursday at 11 am. Several people were trapped inside for hours.
Overcrowding in the temple premises is said to be the reason for the collapse.
After the retrieval of 21 more bodies early morning today, the total death toll from Thursday’s tragedy rose to 35.
With the recovery of another body, identified as that of 53-year-old old Sunil Solanki, the official death toll is now 36.
The search operation is likely to be over now with no possibility of finding more bodies in the stepwell.
The search operations gained momentum after the process of dewatering the well (bearing water up to 13-14 feet) and with the Army's help.
Chief Minister Chouhan met with the injured including twin sisters at a private hospital.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at the Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Indore, on March 31, 2023. (Photo | PTI)
He then visited the tragedy site to take stock of the rescue operations carried out by the Indian Army in association with the National Disaster Response Fund and State Disaster Emergency Response Force teams.
The CM said: “Directions have been issued to conduct a state-wide survey and an inquiry of all such covered 'bavdis' and 'kuwans' (step-wells and wells) to ensure there is no repetition of Thursday-like tragedies.”
The deceased included 20 women aged between 24 and 84 years, 12 men aged between 26 years and 65 years and three children, including two boys aged two years and eight years and a 13-year-old girl.
According to unconfirmed sources, minister colleagues of the CM, including Home Minister Narottam Mishra and Water Resources Minister Tulsi Silawat, and Indore Mayor Pushyamitra Bhargava, who went to meet the kin of the deceased and the injured at a community hall in the residential colony where the mishap had happened, had to return hastily following slogan shouting.
A magisterial probe has already been instituted to probe the mishap.
Also, a criminal case u/s 304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) has been registered at the Juni Indore police station, against the chairman and secretary of the private trust which managed the affairs at the Beleshwar Mahadev Jhoolelal Temple – where the tragedy happened on Thursday.
On Thursday, while the state government had announced Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased devotees and Rs 50,000 for each of the injured, an ex-gratia sum of Rs 2 lakh each was announced from the PM National Relief Fund for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to each of the injured. (AIR NEWS)