Death toll rises to six in Bhiwandi building collapse; owner of structure arrested
Four NDRF teams, two TDRF teams along with Bhiwandi fire brigade personnel were engaged in clearing the debris along with a trained sniffer dog squad. According to NDRF officials, four JCBs, gas cutters, and a victim tracing camera, among other tools were used for the rescue operation
BHIWANDI: A day after a ground-plus-three commercial-residential building Wardhaman Compound collapsed into a heap of concrete in Bhiwandi, three more dead bodies were pulled out from the debris, taking the death toll in the incident to six. MMRDA officials said the collapsed building was unauthorised.
The owner of the building Indrapal Patil has been arrested, police officials confirmed. The rescue operations by the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the Thane Disaster Relief Force (TDRF) continued throughout the night. While they managed to rescue 26-year-old Sunil Pisal after 20 hours at around 8am, three others pulled out dead. They were identified as Sudhakar Gavai, 35, Pravin Pramod Chaudhary, 22 and Triveni Prasad Yadav, 40.
Four NDRF teams, two TDRF teams along with Bhiwandi fire brigade personnel were engaged in clearing the debris along with a trained sniffer dog squad. According to NDRF officials, four JCBs, gas cutters, and a victim tracing camera, among other tools were used for the rescue operation.
Deepak Pandey, commander of NDRF Pune headquarters said, “We have four teams, including three teams from Mumbai. One team comprises 20 to 25 NDRF personnel. We are working in shifts. The building is a “pancake collapse”, wherein the building collapses vertically in a few seconds, making it difficult for people inside to escape. The chances of survivors after 24 hours are bleak. However, since the injured told us that there were others inside the debris, the rescue teams are still searching for more people. Our sniffer dogs Pitter, Tiger, and Sultan have been playing a vital role in sniffing out the trapped people”.
Pandey added that they had received information that around 50 to 60 tonnes of edible products were stored in the warehouses on a ground-plus-one floor occupied by the company named MRK Pvt Ltd.
On Sunday morning, Sudhakar Gavai, 35, a driver who also served as Diva Yuva president, RPI (Deepak Nikalje faction), was pulled out dead around 10.30. Initially, his family members did not recognise him. Later, they moved to IGM hospital and his Aadhar card, and driver’s licence was found in his pocket, thus confirming his identity.
Pravin Pramod Choudhary, 32, a porter in MRK Pvt Ltd, was pulled out from debris at about 3.30 pm. He worked on the first floor of the building. He was also rushed to IGM Hospital in Bhiwandi.
Rajendra Prasad, who is a relative of Chaudhry, told HT that Chaudhry hails from Basti district in UP. He was employed in the company for the last five years. Pravin and his brother Bipin Chaudhry were working together in the company. But Bipin had gone to the village one month ago. “Bipin has now left the village and will come to Bhiwandi tomorrow. We will take Pravin’s body to UP by ambulance for final rites,” said Prasad.
Triveni Prasad Yadav, 40, worked as the delivery man of edible food and worked in the company for the last 12 years. MRK Pvt Ltd started operating from Vardhman Compound in Bhiwandi in 2022. One of the roommates of Triveni told HT that he was unwell a day before the incident and wanted to rest, but a manager called him and asked him to report to work. He went to work on Saturday which cost him his life.
Meanwhile, Adhik Patil, Tahsildar, Bhiwandi said, “The building is illegally constructed by the owner. Prima facie, he does not have any appropriate permission from the MMRDA department.”
Madan Ballal, Senior police Inspector, at Narpoli police station said, “We have arrested owner Indrapal Patil and booked him under sections 304(II) (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety ) 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering human life), 427 (Mischief causing damage) 34 of Indian Penal Code. The accused will be produced before the court on Monday. Further investigation is on.”
A senior MMRDA official said, “MMRDA has not issued any permission for this building and neither authority has received any application for regularisation for the building. In December 2013, the MMRDA had written to the Thane collector about the responsibilities of local authorities with regard to actions on dilapidated structures.”
(With inputs from Sajana Nambiar)