Other dozen-odd families are still believed trapped under the rubble of the Kesarbai Building in the Dongri area.
MUMBAI — At least seven people, including three women, were killed as an old, four-storied residential building collapsed in Dongri, south Mumbai while eight injured persons were rescued from the debris, BMC Disaster Control officials said here.
Other dozen-odd families are still believed trapped under the rubble of the Kesarbai Building in the Dongri area of Mumbai.
The Kesarbai building, which collapsed at around 11:40 am was located in Tandel Street, Dongri, is said to be more than a century old and had 15 families living inside despite its dilapidated condition.
Two teams from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as well as local volunteers, the fire department and police officials were scouring the rubble for survivors.
Those killed been identified as Sabiya Nissar Shaikh, 25, Saira Rehan Shaikh, 25, K. Amirajan, 13, Abdul Sattar Kaloo Shaikh, 55, Muzammil Mansoor Salmani, 15, Javed Ismail, 34, and Arhan Shehzad, 40, said a police spokesperson.
ANI reported that the 11 Ismail Habib building, situated in front of the ‘Kesarbai’ building, is also being evacuated as it was seen shaking.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a probe into the building crash and assured strict action against those found guilty.
Opposition leaders like Vijay Wadettiwar, Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan (Congress), Dhananjay Munde, Majeed Memon, and Nawab Malik (Nationalist Congress Party), and Abu Asim Azmi (Samajwadi Party) lashed out at the government for lapses leading to the tragedy.
They unitedly demanded a detailed investigation into the causes leading to the accident, identifying the culprits and booking them under charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Meanwhile, an RTI activist said that the name of the dilapidated structure is mysteriously omitted from a comprehensive list of 499 “dangerous” buildings prepared by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“The BMC, as per the directions of the Bombay High Court, had compiled the list of the dilapidated buildings, which we secured through an RTI reply. Shockingly, Kesarbai Building’s name is not mentioned anywhere in the list,” Shakeel Ahmed Sheikh told IANS.
Later on Tuesday evening, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) chief spokesperson Vaishali Gadpale cleared the air on the building’s status.
In a statement, she said that the main dilapidated structure, Kesarbai Building 25/C was completely evacuated by the MHADA last year and the building which collapsed on Tuesday “was the illegal rear portion of this building which is not within the purview of the Mumbai Building Repair & Reconstruction Board”, reports IANS.
Earlier in the day, MBRRB Chairman Vinod Ghosalkar had said that the dilapidated structure, believed to be over 80 years old, had been handed over for redevelopment to B.S.B. Developers, which has not yet started the work.
“This is a serious matter and we shall investigate why the redevelopment work was not initiated, what caused the delays and take appropriate action against those responsible,” Ghosalkar told IANS.
Among those rescued from the debris include a woman, two men and a child, who are being treated at various hospitals.
As a precautionary measure, the police evacuated all residents of an adjoining building and shifted them to a nearby school to facilitate the relief works.
Narrow approach roads, huge crowds and thickly populated areas, besides continuous VVIP movements to the site have reportedly affected rescue operations.
SN Pradhan, DG, National Disaster Response Force, said: “The pathway to the collapsed building is very narrow and the vehicles with rescue equipment are unable to reach there. The team is carrying equipment on foot.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a statement said: “Collapse of a building in Mumbai’s Dongri is anguishing. My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. I hope the injured recover soon. Maharashtra Government, NDRF and local authorities are working on rescue operations & assisting those in need”.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Milind Deora termed the building collapse in Dongri “unfortunate” and urged citizens to question the government as to why such incidents keep happening year after year.
(With inputs from IANS)