Dozens of people are feared trapped or dead under debris after a plastic bag factory in an Indian city collapsed.

The building in the industrial city of Ludhiana, in the northern state of Punjab, fell on Monday at about midday local time (6.30am GMT) after a fire broke out at 8am (2.30am).

Rescue workers from India’s National Disaster Response Force are sifting through debris in an attempt to find survivors and bodies.

The Border Security Force and the Punjab Armed Police have been sent to the city from Jalandhar near the border with Pakistan.

Fire was seen billowing from the building just before it fell.

Local media said at least three people were killed and more than 15 trapped after the three-storey factory collapsed.

Two of those who have died are believed to be a fireman and a taxi service owner, the Indian Express said.

Among those trapped are eight fire department employees and three officials, named as Rajinder Sharma, Raj Kumar and Sumohan Gill by the Indian Express.

Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal, Ludhiana’s deputy comissioner, said: “So far, we fear that at least 20 people are trapped under the debris.

“The exact situation will be known when the situation improves and some debris is cleared.”

Workers and residents from nearby gathered on the edge of the collapse site as workers used diggers and drills to move the rubble.

One man at the site said he feared his father was trapped under the debris.

He said: “I am not able to find my father, Inderpal Singh.

“We have found his ring and iron bracelet.

“He had come to find his friend after the building collapsed.”

Later, Police Commissioner RN Dhoke told local media he had been identified as one of those who had died.

The factory, owned by Amarson Polymers, produces plastic bags.

Its website claims it has an annual turnover of up to £2.3million and was established in 2006.

Get more stories like this on Twitter & Facebook

AD:To get thousands of free final year project topics and materials sorted by subject to help with your research [click here]