efe-epaNew Delhi

About 40 people are believed to be trapped under the rubble of a building that collapsed Sunday following heavy rain in northern India.

The building that collapsed in Solan district in the state of Himachal Pradesh had housed a motorway service station.

"Nearly 40 people are believed to be trapped," chief of the regional government Jairam Thakur said on Twitter, adding that 19 people had been rescued and work was ongoing to find those who were still missing.

India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said in a tweet that two teams were already involved in the rescue efforts.

Fires and building collapses are fairly common in India owing to the often precarious condition of infrastructure and a lack of maintenance, factors that are aggravated by corruption and illegal practices within the construction sector.

Monsoon season only serves to heighten the possibility of collapses, with the prolonged period of intense rain affecting building structures.

Last week, torrential rain in the western state of Maharashtra caused the deaths of at least 23 people, 14 of them brought about by the collapse of a wall in a shanty area. EFE-EPA

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