The death toll in the building collapse in Shil Phata area of Thane rose to 52 and the number of the injured increased to 60 on Friday as more bodies were recovered from the site.
The seven-storey building collapsed on Thursday evening. Thane municipal officials said there could be more bodies buried under the debris even as rescue work continued late on Friday.
New Delhi is also not new to such accidents and has several colonies with structural defects, making them more vulnerable to damage from earthquakes and other natural disasters. One of the worst building collapses in the city was in November 2011 in east Delhi’s Lalita Park, where 71 people died and more than 100 were injured.
Among the dead in Thane was Shakila Siddhique, a pregnant woman. “We didn’t realise when the building sank,” said Shakila’s husband Imran.
Rescue workers look for trapped people after a residential building collapsed in Thane, Mumbai. AP
He lost 13 members of his family. “We felt it shaking, just like the tremors of an earthquake. The next moment, the building collapsed,” he added.
Initial reports indicate that the building collapsed due to poor construction quality. The builder had built the structure in about seven months without seeking any approvals from the local authorities. The builder then got some poor families to live in it to preempt action. In addition, he was building an eighth floor even while the building was occupied.
Rescue workers carry a woman who survived from a collapsed residential building in Thane, on the outskirts of Mumbai. Reuters
“Even though the building was occupied till the seventh floor, the contractor told us to carry out the slab work on eighth floor. When he asked us to put a layer of sand on the slab, we told him that it was not correct procedure but he didn’t listen,” said Shantabai Jadhav whose husband Raju’s legs are in a cast at a hospital in Thane.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan announced suspension of two officials holding them responsible for the illegal construction.
The suspended include deputy municipal commissioner of Thane Municipal Corporation Dipak Chavan and senior police inspector of Daighar police station Kishor Naik. The local municipality and police officers are supposed to keep tab on illegal constructions in their jurisdiction.