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Death toll rises to 55 in Chennai building collapse, Jayalalithaa orders probe

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday ordered a probe into the collapse of an 11-storey under-construction residential building.

Jayalalithaa has set up a one-man commission to inquire into the incident. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said Justice (retd) R Raghupathy will conduct a detailed inquiry into the collapse and suggest measures to prevent its recurrence in high-rises in the future.

The death toll in the incident has, meanwhile, risen to 55.

In a statement issued here, Jayalalithaa said 27 people were rescued in the accident.

She said the commission will look into all aspects that led to the building’s collapse.

The commission will also determine and fix responsibility for the disaster and recommend measures to be taken so that such accidents do not occur in the future.

However, the statement did not spell out the time frame within which the commission has to submit its report.

A total of 80 people have been pulled out dead or alive from under the debris of the collapsed structure by rescue personnel since Saturday when the mishap occurred.

It is feared another 20-25 more persons could still be under the rubble, he said.

The residential project Trust Heights was being developed by Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd. The project comprised two 11-storey blocks – The Belief and The Faith.

Most of the people trapped under the debris are said to be construction workers.

Giant steel rod cutters and other equipment have been working overtime while sniffer dogs and sophisticated cameras are deployed at the accident site to locate and rescue trapped people.

The Tamil Nadu’s Public Works Department has declared “unsafe” the adjacent, crashed building’s twin – an 11-storey building of the same project. The building will be pulled down once the rescue and recovery operations at the crash site are over.

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