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Residential building crumbles in Old Delhi; 7 dead

September 28, 2011

Police said seven people were killed and dozens injured, including four critically. - AP photo

NEW DELHI: Broken beams and mounds of clay lay in heaps Wednesday where a four-story residential building collapsed in the Indian capital, killing at least seven people and highlighting the dangerous housing conditions among the city's poor.

Residents said they feared some people may still be trapped in the rubble from the decades-old building that fell Tuesday night in Old Delhi around the time when people would have been home for dinner or getting ready for bed.

Rescuers using diggers to remove the debris Wednesday freed a young boy trapped as he was passing by the building when it fell in the congested Chandni Mahal area of Old Delhi.

The area is known for its overcrowded buildings and loose wires crisscrossing narrow streets. Locals said they believed the building, built about eight decades ago from old construction materials, had been undergoing construction work that might have weakened the foundation.

Police said seven people were killed and dozens injured, including four critically.

Authorities were investigating, while critics accused the city of ignoring the state of Old Delhi's dilapidated buildings.

Poor construction material and inadequate foundations are often blamed for collapses in India. A building collapsed in November, killing about 70 people in the capital, where prices for both land and rent are at premium levels thanks to a population quickly increasing with migrants seeking work.