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Ludhiana search over, missing firemen presumed dead, toll 16 

Ludhiana: The seven-day search operation for survivors underneath the debris of the local polybags factory Amarson Polymers, that collapsed on November 20 after a blaze, has been officially declared over and the three missing firemen presumed dead.The operation by the NDRF, SDRF and local officials lasted 140 hours during which 13 bodies were found. But firemen Sukhdev Singh, Manpreet Singh and Manohar Lal remained untraced. Officials believe intermittent fire in a portion of the collapsed factory may have destroyed their bodies. Deputy Commissioner Pardeep Agrawal, Police Commissioner RN Dhoke, MC Commissioner Jaskiran Singh (who was transferred today) and Congress MLA Surinder Dawar today visited the site. Agrawal said: “Technically, we have closed the operation. Nevertheless, a team of 100-150 personnel will manually comb the debris.”Expressing regret, he told the families of the missing firemen: “We tried hard to find them.” The families have now asked the police to declare their kin dead so that they may get compensation.Jaskiran said factory owner Inderjit Singh Gola had admitted to storing hazardous chemicals inside the factory.  “As per our records, the building was illegal. Any official, serving or retired, who allowed the building to come up will have to face the music. “We will be launching a survey of unsafe and illegal buildings, which will be completed in 15 days,” he said, adding that he would write to the DC to recover the expenses incurred on the rescue operation from the factory owner. MLA Dawar said he would seek a job for the kin of every fireman who died.The deceased have been identified as sub-fire officers Rajinder Sharma (52), Shamaun Gill (53) and Raj Kumar (52), firemen Vishal (35), Rajan (45) and Pooran Singh (50), sanitary officer Laxman Dravid (53), computer designers Sandeep Kumar (32), Ghanaiya (39), and Amarjot (25), taxi union president Inderpal Singh (55), factory manager Baldev Raj (55) and worker Dhan Bahadur (50). The two injured are Rohit Kumar and Sunil Kumar.

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