Rescue operations continued in Lucky Compound in the Shil Phata area of Thane, Maharashtra, on Friday. Where till a day ago there stood a seven-storey building, there was now only a pile of mortar, bricks and twisted steel. And beneath it all, lay trapped more hapless residents of the illegally constructed building.
Such was the extent of damage that the Thane Municipal Corporation had to take the help of the National Disaster Relief Force.
A team was called in from Mumbai as further delay in rescue work would mean less chances of survival of those still trapped. Fire brigade personnel from adjoining cities were also summoned.
The rescue team armed with sensor-fitted equipment combed the debris for survivors and bodies. And amidst it all, the blame game started.
Municipal officers and locals said the builder had taken only seven months to complete the building. No plans were sent to the local municipal office for approval and construction rules were flouted.
In fact, the builder was adding an eight floor and renting out rooms on the other floors to poor families at the same time to allegedly avoid demolition by municipal authorities by showing that the building was occupied.