DHENKANAL: At least four people were killed and five others seriously injured on Sunday when the boundary wall of a closed rice mill collapsed near Alasuahat, a weekly market here.
According to sources, trading activities were going on as usual when a portion of the boundary wall suddenly caved in, killing four people on spot. All the deceased were vendors.
They were Rama Chandra Sahoo of Gengutia, Abhimanyu Biswal of Gurjang village, Sangram Sahoo of Chainpur and Mayadhar Mallick of Sidhapal village.
A team of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) along with Fire Brigade personnel and police officers carried out the rescue operation. Several vehicles, including two-wheelers and bicycles parked near the wall, were crushed under the debris, the sources said.
The Fire Brigade personnel admitted the injured in district headquarters hospital (DHH). Later, three critically injured patients were referred to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack.
Dhenkanal Collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan and SP Anupama James visited the spot to take stock of the rescue operation. The Collector also visited DHH and enquired about the condition of the injured patients from the doctors.
The sources said Hansraj Rice Mill had been lying abandoned for several years with little or no maintenance. The Collector told the media persons that the mill’s condition and lease aspects will be looked into and notices issued to all parties related to the mill.
The municipality authorities have demolished the remaining part of the boundary wall.
The Collector said steps will be taken to demolish all unauthorised buildings and structures creating hurdles and constructed illegally in the town. Executive Officer of Dhenkanal Municipality Atanu kumar Samant said they will issue notice to mill owner Purushottam D Sundar Das.
Expressing his profound grief over the incident, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced ex gratia of ` four lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased. Free treatment will be provided to the injured, he said. The Collector has also sanctioned Rs 25,000 for the families of each deceased.