Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu and DMK president M K Stalin on Tuesday visited the Nadur village in Mettupalayam near Coimbatore where 17 persons of three families died in a house collapse in heavy rains and blamed the accident on Government apathy.
Talking to reporters after offering condolences to the next of kin of the dead, Stalin said the accident could have been averted if the Government had acted on public representation and demolished a compound wall adjacent to the houses. It was the wall collapse which brought down the tiled houses. He said people had made several representations to local authorities that the compound was in a weak condition and should be removed, but no action was taken.
He also said though the police had registered an FIR, no action had been taken against the owner of a land whose compound wall collapsed on the houses, leading to the deaths. On the contrary, the police lathicharged the people who took out a march for the arrest those responsible for the accident and demanded action against police personnel. .
He also alleged that post-mortem examination was done without informing the relatives. Saying that the Rs 4 lakh solatium for the next of kin announced by the Government was inadequate and should be enhanced, Stalin demanded that jobs be given to the next of kin.
The protest march was taken out by Dalit outfits to demand the arrest of land owner Sivasubramaniam whose compound wall collapse caused the accident.
Immediately after the accident in the early hours of Monday, Coimbatore Collector K Rajaramani told reporters that orders had been issued for the demolition of the compound wall. “A review will be undertaken to find out similar walls abutting tiled houses of the poor to prevent recurrence of such accidents”, he said.