13 die in Bhiwandi building collapse

20 residents, including a 4-year-old boy, rescued

September 21, 2020 07:58 am | Updated September 22, 2020 04:05 am IST - Thane

Rescuers look for survivors after a residential building collapsed in Bhiwandi in Thane district, a suburb of Mumbai, India, Monday, Sept.21, 2020

Rescuers look for survivors after a residential building collapsed in Bhiwandi in Thane district, a suburb of Mumbai, India, Monday, Sept.21, 2020

Thirteen people, including seven minors, died after a portion of a three-storey building in Bhiwandi, neighbouring Mumbai, collapsed in the early hours of Monday. Gilani Building at the Patel compound near Bhiwandi’s Dhamankar Naka collapsed at around 3.15 a.m. on Monday morning.

Many occupants were trapped in the debris, a Thane Municipal Corporation official said. An eyewitness said local residents rushed to the spot immediately after the collapse and helped pull out some persons from the debris.

A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to the spot for rescue related work. At the time of writing this report, the team had managed to rescue 20 residents, including a 4-year-old boy. Personnel of the Thane Disaster Response Force pulled out the four-year-old Ubed Quraishi, from the debris and fed him water.

NDRF Director General S. N. Pradhan said a canine squad had been used to search persons trapped in the debris.

Thane district guardian Minister Eknath Shinde announced ₹5 lakh aid to the families of the deceased. He said 102 “dangerous buildings” in the powerloom town had already been evacuated.

The local civic body had served two notices to the owner and residents, declaring the structure dangerous and asking them to vacate the building.

According to the police complaint filed against the building’s owner Sayyad Ahmad Gilani by Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation (BNMC), the three-storey building housed 40 rooms was built 30-35 years ago. “A survey to identify structurally dangerous buildings was undertaken in January 2020. It was found that slab and column of the building were weakened while cracks were developed at the walls. On February 26, 2020, a notice was served to the owner and residents asking them to vacate the building. As they did not receive it, another notice asking them to vacate it within 24 hours was again served on April 23, 2020,” stated the police complaint.

Two civic officials have been suspended in connection with the collapse and an offence has been registered against the building owner, an official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the loss of lives. “Saddened by the building collapse in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for a quick recovery of those injured. Rescue operations are underway and all possible assistance is being provided to the affected,” he tweeted.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too expressed anguish over the incident and directed the authorities for efficient rescue work.

Power supply to the locality was snapped as a precautionary measure, an official said, adding that the injured had been admitted to local hospitals.

( Inputs from PTI )

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