Indian police arrest govt worker over building collapse

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 on Jan 6, 2014. Indian police said on Tuesday they had arrested
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 on Jan 6, 2014. Indian police said on Tuesday they had arrested a government officer over the collapse of a partly-constructed building in the state of Goa at the weekend which killed 17 people. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PANAJI, India (AFP) - Indian police said on Tuesday they had arrested a government officer over the collapse of a partly-constructed building in the state of Goa at the weekend which killed 17 people.

Deputy town planner Prakash Bandodkar, who was responsible for handing out building licences, was arrested late Monday in the south-western tourism state, police superintendent Shekhar Prabhudesai said.

The building came crashing down on Saturday afternoon while more than 40 poorly-paid daily-wage labourers were on the site - the latest in a string of deadly building collapses in India.

Police have registered a case against another government officer and the directors of the construction firm that owned the building, who have all absconded.

Rescue workers have pulled out 17 bodies and found 16 survivors, while another 12 are thought to still be in the rubble with little chance of being found alive.

In September a rundown residential block in the financial hub Mumbai collapsed, killing 60 people. Another building collapse in the city in April killed 74.

The incidents have highlighted poor construction standards in the country, fuelled by a desperate need for housing and pervasive corruption.