Thane (Maharashtra), Sep 23, 2020-
The death toll in the building crash in Maharashtra’s Bhiwandi town catapulted to 40 with 15 more bodies recovered from the debris of what is now the third-worst building collapse in the past seven years in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Officials said despite torrential rains since Tuesday night, the search for more victims continues even after over 60 hours for another 4 to 5 persons still feared trapped under the rubble though their chances of survival appeared bleak.
Minors apparently bore the brunt of the tragedy as the dead comprise at least five infants and 12 other boys and girls aged below 15, besides another 11 women and 12 men, said officials of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation (BNMC).
Besides, another 25 persons were rescued from the four-decade-old Jilani building in the Patel Compound, Narpoli, which collapsed around 3.45 a.m. on Monday.
The victims were caught unawares as they slept in their homes, as the local rescue teams and the NDRF along with a dog squad saved over two dozen lives, and at least 10 others were injured and were admitted to various hospitals.
The BNMC late on Monday suspended two civic officials — Sudham Jadhav and Dudhnath Yadav — in connection with the crash while the Narpoli Police has registered an offence against the builder Syed Ahmed Jilani, and others responsible for the tragedy.
Thane Guardian Minister and Urban Development Minister Eknath Sinde has ordered a probe into the lapses leading to the building crash and earlier announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the kin of the dead victims and free medical treatment to the injured.
Additionally, another 102 buildings in this minority-dominated powerloom township are declared as ‘dangerous’ and all the residents have been evacuated as a precaution, said the minister.
This is the second building collapse in less than a month in the MMR. An eight-year-old five-storey building, Tarique Gardens, had crashed on August 24 in Mahad town of Raigad, claiming 16 lives.
Monday’s collapse ranks as the third-worst in the past 7 years after the April 4, 2013 crash of a building in Lucky Compound in Mumbra town (Thane) which killed 78 people, followed by a building crash on September 27, 2013 in Mazgaon area of south Mumbai that snuffed out 61 lives. (Agency)