Mumbai

19 killed as building collapses in Mumbai’s Kurla area

Rescue operations are underway after a four-storey building collapsed in Mumbai, early Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Rescue operations are underway after a four-storey building collapsed in Mumbai, early Tuesday, June 28, 2022. | Photo Credit:  Emmanuel Yogini

Nineteen people were declared brought dead at hospitals after a four-storey building collapsed in the Kurla area of Mumbai around Monday midnight, civic officials said on Tuesday. Four have been admitted to hospitals and nine were discharged after treatment, officials said.

A wing of the building in the Naik Nagar Society collapsed, while another wing was evacuated as it too is dilapidated, officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said. Search-and-rescue operations are under way.

Earlier in the day, four persons were declared dead before admission, including one at the BMC-run Sion Hospital. Birju Majhi (21), Rahul Majhi (23), Pappu Majhi (35) and Mahesh Majhi (40) were declared brought dead at hospitals in the evening.

A woman who was trapped under the debris was rescued by a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Rescuers cheered when she was brought out alive.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday announced an ex gratia of ₹5 lakh each from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to the next of kin of the deceased. The medical expenses of the injured will be borne by the State government, the statement added.

The BMC had issued notices to the building repeatedly since 2013 under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, initially for repairs and then for vacating and demolishing it, Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Bhide told the PTI.

According to senior BMC officials, residents of the building, constructed in 1973, had undertaken to carry out repairs, but apparently, no repairs were carried out.

"Even prosecution for non-compliance was initiated. Later, the residents got a structural audit redone and got the building categorised as repairable, but didn't carry out the repairs," Ms. Bhide, who visited the spot on Tuesday and reviewed the search and rescue operations, said. Despite the BMC's warnings and attempts to get the building vacated, people continued to live in it, she claimed. The residents had even given an undertaking that they would continue to live there at their own risk and cost, Ms. Bhide said.

When a BMC fire brigade team first reached the spot, locals informed the fire services personnel that around 20-22 people were trapped under the debris. Around a dozen fire engines were deployed besides two rescue vans and other equipment, the official said. Besides the fire brigade and two NDRF teams, BMC officials and police were also involved in the search and rescue operation. NDRF teams rescued two pigeons alive from under the debris nearly 18 hours after the incident.

Third incident

This is the third major building collapse incident in the metropolis this month. On June 23, a slab of a two-storey industrial structure collapsed in the Chembur area, killing a man and injuring 10 others. On June 9, a three-storey residential building collapsed in suburban Bandra, where a 55-year-old man was killed and 18 others suffered injuries.

Building was declared dilapidated once, but later removed from category following favourable structural audit report

The building in suburban Kurla which collapsed around midnight and claimed 19 lives had been declared as dilapidated once, but later it was removed from the category following a favourable structural audit report, a senior BMC official said on Tuesday.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will carry out a probe into how the building's classification changed, and who carried out the structural audit, said municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.

Chahal was speaking to reporters after visiting the building, part of the Naik Nagar society, during the day.

The building, constructed in 1973, was declared a dilapidated `C1' category structure in 2016 which meant it was unfit to live in.

According to a BMC release, it had issued the first notice to the housing society on June 28, 2013, asking it to carry out major repair works.

The civic body then initiated legal action as the society did not carry out repairs, and included it in the C1 category. A fresh notice under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act was issued.

In November 2014 and May 2015, notices were issued for demolition of the buildings in the Naik Nagar Co-Op Housing Society, the BMC said.

In May 2016, water and power connection were cut.

But the building was included in the C2B category on June 30, 2016, on the basis of structural audit report received from Sachdeva and Associates, an authorized audit firm.

A C2-B classification means a building need not be demolished and it can be repaired.

"We took an undertaking from them (residents) that they would do necessary repairs. Since the building was in C2-B category, it went out of our radar," commissioner Chahal said.

Earlier, Ashwini Bhide, additional municipal commissioner, had told PTI that the BMC had been issuing notices to the building repeatedly under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act since 2013, initially asking for repairs and then for vacating it and demolition.

"Even prosecution for non-compliance was initiated. Later the residents got structural audit redone, and got it categorised as repairable, but didn't carry out actual repairs," Bhide said.

The residents stayed put despite constant efforts by the BMC to get the building vacated, she added.

They had even given an undertaking that they would reside there at their own risk, she said.

Naik Nagar Co-operative Housing Society is a cluster of four buildings. The `D' building which collapsed around Monday midnight was located on the north end.


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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 2:30:03 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/kurla-mumbai-building-collapse/article65575081.ece