Five injured, some others are feared trapped in debris
Seven persons were killed and five others injured when a seven-floor building collapsed on an adjacent slum settlement in suburban Mumbai on Friday. Some people are feared trapped under the debris.
Since the dilapidated building in Vakola was declared dangerous by the civic authorities, all residents had vacated the premises.
Around 30 shanties, called the Catherine chawl, were adjacent to the Shankar Lok building, which collapsed. The water tank of the building fell on the shanties.
“I was inside with my grandmother when we heard a loud noise outside. I dragged her outside and in seconds the building fell on our house,” said Jessica Almeida, a class 11 student.
The Almeidas had shifted to the Catherine chawl few months ago as a temporary arrangement since their original residence is currently under redevelopment.
Even though the Mumbai municipality had declared the building unsafe, two families had refused to vacate the houses and one of them had approached the Bombay High Court.
“We could not demolish the building since the court had stayed the proceedings. The matter was pending and as a result of this court battle several lives were lost,” said Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu. He felt the municipality needed more power to tackle such problems.
Two members of the Shreedharan family who had approached the court were found dead, while all four members of the Pandey family had stepped outside when the building collapsed.
“We were asking for the redevelopment of the building and had written to various representatives. But nobody paid heed to our requests,” said Sanjeev Pandey, one of the family members. Mr. Pandey, however, refused to say anything about the court battle.