Seven killed in Delhi following building collapse

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The Independent Online

A three-story residential building has collapsed in Delhi, killing at least seven people and highlighting dangerous housing conditions among the city's poor.

Residents fear some people may still be trapped in the rubble from the decades-old building that fell in the Indian capital around the time when people would have been home for dinner or getting ready for bed.

Rescuers using small diggers and pickaxes to clear the debris 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 - known for its overcrowded buildings and loose wires criss-crossing narrow streets - is too small to bring in larger diggers to help with the rescue.

Locals said several families lived in the building's two levels above an unoccupied ground floor used for storage. They said they believed construction work in two adjacent buildings may have weakened the structure that fell.

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

Authorities are investigating while critics accuse 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 land and rent are at premium levels thanks to a population quickly increasing with migrants seeking work.