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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Thane building collapse: ‘I could think only of my children’

Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 05, 2013
First Published: 21:40 IST(5/4/2013) | Last Updated: 23:48 IST(5/4/2013)

An illegally constructed building collapsed in Thane on Thursday evening where 28 families were taking shelter.

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A day after the unfortunate incident, 45 deaths have been reported so far and many have been injured and are being treated in hospitals.

Here are some tales from the survivors:

Sandhya Thakur
Two-year-old Sandhya Thakur rescued 18 hours after the collapse is still waiting for her mother Kiran. Thakur remembered her mother yelling for help and constantly trying to call her father dad from her cell phone. Hospital authorities however didn’t have the heart to tell her that her mother is dead.

“Dad wasn’t picking the phone. We were in pain. I don’t know what happened after this,” she said.

Recuperating at the civil hospital, Sandhya couldn’t open her eyes damaged with sand stuck in them. Her mom Kiran Thakur who was pregnant died in the hospital.

Sandhya who was admitted to the bed adjoining Kiran constantly kept asking for her mom. Since she could not see, hospital authorities touched her hand to her mother’s body lying in the next bed and a nurse spoke to her pretending to be her mom. Sandhya however recognised that the voice was not her mother’s.

Imran Siddhique
An inconsolable Imran Siddhique lost his pregnant wife and an entire family of 13 members. The Siddhiques were occupying two flats in the building.

“My wife was in her last few months of pregnancy. She died in front of my eyes and I was helpless,” said Siddhique adding that she was in immense pain.

With his legs stuck in the debris, Siddhique could not rescue his wife.

“We didn’t realise when the building sank. We felt it shaking, just like the tremors of an earthquake. The next moment, the building collapsed,” he said.

Saronisa Sheikh
Saronisa Sheikh’s four children were stuck in the debris when the building collapsed.

While both Sheikh and her husband Zulfikar, who runs a catering businessm, were not at home, their children Airaz Shaeikh (3), Gulzar Shiekh (6), Farzeen Begum (4) and Ashrif Sheikh (13) were alone at home.

It’s only a month back that the Sheikhs moved into the building from the neighbouring one.

“We were happy to get a new home without paying any rent,” she said.

Recounting the incident, “I heard people screaming that the building has collapsed. All I could think was about the safety of my four children,” said Sheikh.

Farzeen was lucky to escape unhurt while the three boys are being treated for injuries at the Chhatrapati Shivaji hospital, Kalwa.

Shantabai Jadhav
Two months ago, Shantabai Jadhav along with 20 other labourers had come to Mumbra in search of work from their native village in Karnataka. Soon after, the family - husband Raju, two children and Jadhav – started working as labourers in the building and living on the lower floors.

Stating that the building was occupied till the seventh floor, Jadhav said, “But the contractor told us to carry out the slab work on eighth floor. After installing the slab on eighth floor, we were preparing to leave at 3pm.”

Jadhav added that the contractor however did not let them leave and instead asked them to put a layer of sand on the slab.

“We told him that it was not correct procedure but he didn’t listen. My husband asked me and my sons to leave while he continued with the work.”

While the mother and children had a near miss because they were out of the building premises completing some chores, Raju got stuck in the building debris. With both his legs in the cast, doctors examining him are yet to ascertain if he will ever be able to walk again.

“He was the sole bread winner of the family,” she said.

Baby girl
A 10-month-old girl was lucky to survive the building collapse with barely a scratch. However, more than 20 hours after the incident, none of her family members came forward to claim the child.

The baby touched the hearts of many with a smile at the person who rescued her. The girl has suffered minor bruises on her forehead and stomach.

Authorities at the Chhatrapati Shivaji hospital were contemplating on putting out an advertisement in the local newspaper.

“The baby had milk and biscuits. She is a happy child who smiles at everyone. We have kept a caretaker to look after her round the clock. If no one comes to claim her, we will give an advertisement in the newspaper,” said a hospital official.


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