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Building collapse kills 17 in India’s Goa

Rescue workers wait to start the day's operation to look for survivors at the site of a collapsed building that was under construction in Canacona town in the western Indian city of Goa January 6, 2014

At least 17 workers were killed and many feared trapped when a half-built apartment block collapsed in the Indian resort state of Goa, police and media said on Sunday, the latest disaster to draw attention to safety standards amid a construction boom.

The multi-storey building in Canacona, just over 4 km (two and a half miles) from the popular Palolem beach in the western state, collapsed on Saturday.

Around 50 people were working at the site at the time and at least a dozen were still trapped under the concrete, according to witness accounts cited in media reports. One report put the number of people trapped as high as 60.

India’s booming construction industry is set to be worth $1 trillion by 2025, which would make it the world’s third largest, according to a report by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics.

But this dazzling growth has often come at the expense of safety standards.

At least 50 people were killed when a five-storey apartment block in India’s financial centre, Mumbai, collapsed last September.

A collapse in April killed 72 people in Thane, a satellite city just outside Mumbai. Officials said the structure was built with poor materials and did not have proper approvals.

Goa police have registered a case – using a process known in India as a “first information report” – against the real estate development firm building the Goa block.

“Legal action will be taken against all who are responsible for this,” Mishra said.

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