New Delhi, May 30 : China's quality watchdog has warned of "severe punishment" to anyone found responsible for the collapsed school building in the May 12 earthquake.
Inspectors have taken samples of rubble to see if shoddy construction material was used, according to an official of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).
"It's regretful to see so many young students die ... and inspection teams have been sent to the disaster-hit areas to take samples of school debris," AQSIQ deputy director Zhi Shuping, told reporters.
Zhi said the investigations had so far yielded no results, but "if they show quality problems do exist, we'll deal with those responsible with zero tolerance."
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Ministry of Education ordered thorough investigations into why so many school buildings collapsed in the quake.
Many children were crushed to death in collapsed buildings. Some parents have blamed the tragedy on shoddy construction quality. The death toll from the 8.0 magnitude quake is over 68,500 and is certain to rise further, with 20,000 missing.
Lin Qiang, vice inspector of the Sichuan provincial educational department, said "seeking truth is more important than losing face."
Meanwhile, according to The China Daily, rescuers Thursday battled heavy rain to drain a "quake lake" threatening to burst its banks and cause floods.
Rain has hampered efforts by more than 600 soldiers to open a giant sluice to discharge floodwaters. Helicopters shipping in equipment were unable to take off, and some 1,000 soldiers had to carry in 10 tonnes of diesel by foot to fuel bulldozers there.
About 133,000 troops and armed police are in the disaster area, said Lu Dengming of the Chengdu Military Area Command.
China has evacuated more than 150,000 people living below the biggest of the quake lakes at Tangjiashan. It was created when landslides blocked the Jianjiang river above Beichuan, near the epicentre.
The Finance Ministry has funnelled an extra 1 billion yuan (4.2 million) into relief work on an estimated 35 dangerous lakes formed by landslides, in addition to 400 million yuan already alloted to work on smaller, damaged dams.