A wall collapsed in a salt packaging factory at Halvad GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation) in western India in Morbi district, 215 kilometers (135 miles) west of Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat state, on Wednesday. The wall was 12 foot high and 60-70 foot in lenght. At least 12 people including 4 children were killed and another 13 not life threatening injured. Some of them were buried beneath wall debris and stacks of salt bags. Police said they will book the owner of Sagar Salt for negligeance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the deaths as heart-rending. “In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” he said. Modi’s office said the government will provide aid funding for the relatives of dead and injured victims. Authorities are investigating the cause of the wall collapse. Preliminary investigation suggested that heavy cement bags (each of 20 kg) stored on one side created pressure on the wall leading on its collapse.
Gujarat is largest salt producing state in India. Considerable proportion of workers employed in salt works is women as compare to the men. Majority of the workers are unskilled workers. All the workers have low socioeconomic status with marginal source of income. There is lack of motivation towards use of personal protective equipments. Building collapses are common in India as many of them are poorly constructed using sub-standard material. A building collapse in 2013 killed at least 72 people in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital.