Twenty people were killed and five others seriously injured after a wall of an under-construction godown collapsed at Kuthari village in Taloja, about 55 km from Mumbai.
Most of the victims were labourers from Gandhari village in Buldhana district.
Among the dead, were eight women and two children. The injured have been admitted to Panvel Municipal hospital and MGM hospitals in Kamothe and Vashi. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to the kin of those who died.
"The plaster work of the wall was on when it collapsed at around 1 pm. I survived because I was at a distance," said labourer Ramchandra Chavan. "My wife and son are dead, my daughter is seriously injured."
Raigad district collector Dadasaheb Jhagde visited the accident site and the injured in the hospital. "A probe will look into the cause of the mishap.
We have observed that the construction of the godown was of poor quality," said Jhagde. "The 30-ft high wall was only nine inches in width whereas it is required to be at least 18-inches.
The foundation was not deep enough and even the steel used was of poor quality."
The police have arrested Narendra Bhalla, the owner of the Bhalla complex where the godown was being built and Budhaji Dalvi, the contractor.
"They have been booked for negligence under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code," said Jhagde.
For site supervisor, Rajesh Misra, the horror unfolded in front of his eyes. "My son Niraj was bringing my lunch box as I could not go home," Misra said.
"While I was standing at a distance, he was walking right next to the wall. He was injured when I brought him to the hospital. But he died while being operated upon," a grief-stricken Misra said.
Those who were injured are Janardan Nagre, Subhash Rathod, Usha Chavan and Kantabai Jadhav. Three-year-old Gajanan Nagre too was injured.