Rampant and ill-planned renovation of an old mill structure may be responsible for the deaths of Amrita Shukla, 29, and Manoj Shukla, 44 — employees of JSW Ispat Steel.
The entire southern portion of Victoria House building, located in Kamala Mill compound, collapsed on
Monday. Officials said repairs were being carried out on the ground floor of the commercial building, which reportedly damaged a pillar.
On Monday, the cracks on the pillars widened, following which the labourers were evacuated.
At least 400 employees in offices on the first and second floors continued to work. Around 11.50am, a slab on the second floor collapsed, crashing into the first and ground floor.
However, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the occupants had not taken any permission to carry out internal structural repairs.
“The structure was built in 1897 and we are yet to find records on the ownership and tenants of the building. Repairs were being carried out on the ground floor, but no permissions were taken from us,” said Keshav Ubale, assistant municipal commissioner, G-south ward.
The NM Joshi Marg police registered a case of causing death due to negligence, causing hurt by an act endangering life of others and for causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life of others. “We have booked the contractor and the owner of the two floors, JSW. We are investigating the identities of the guilty persons and they will be arrested soon,” said Sudhakar J Ghagare, senior inspector.
In its statement, JSW Ispat Limited said the Victoria House property was acquired by JSW Steel Ltd in 2005 and the collapse had occurred because of modifications carried out within a part of the ground floor — which didn’t belong to the group
In the past, a number of mill land structures have been renovated to make way for commercial purposes and shopping malls.
“It is blatant negligence on part of the occupants to carry out repairs without taking permissions All the malls that have come up on mill land have been made by carrying out repairs illegally,” said Kishori Pednekar, a local Shiv Sena corporator.
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