12 killed, seven injured in Mumbai building collapse
Twelve people, including eight minors, died and seven more were injured after a four-storey building collapsed on an adjoining two-storey one in Malad, a western suburb in Mumbai on Wednesday night, in what some people in the neighbourhood described as a delayed impact of Cyclone Tauktae that hit Mumbai in mid-May.
Of the 12 dead, nine, including six minors, were from the building owner’s family. The owner, Rizwan Siddique (48), who escaped with injuries, was arrested after a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under relevant sections of the IPC was registered against him by Malwani police. The structure that collapsed was an illegal building, with only the ground floor sanctioned; the other three were not authorised, according to local officials.
The Maharashtra government has announced a ₹5 lakh payment to the families of each of the deceased and ₹50,000 to those injured. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, in a statement, said that the cost of their treatment will be covered by the state government.
The Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) received a call at around 11.45pm on Wednesday and they reached the spot within 15 minutes. Seventy MFB personnel were involved in the operations.
A MFB official said, “The rescue and search operations were conducted for over 12 hours till 1pm on Thursday afternoon. We rescued everyone by 1am itself, but we had unconfirmed reports of a girl being trapped inside. Hence, we continued the search operations till Thursday afternoon but did not find anyone.”
Contrary to the MFB’s claim that it reached in 15 minutes, people in the locality said the fire brigade came an hour after the incident. Mohammad Rafique, a resident of the area, said: “The collapse took place at around 10.45pm and the fire brigade came almost one hour later.”
Another resident Mohammad Momin said: “The building that fell was already shaking after heavy rainfall and high wind speed 10 days ago due to cyclone. Had the building owners paid heed at that time, this incident could have been averted.”
Shekhar Bhalerao, senior inspector at Malwani police station, said: “We have registered the case and are waiting to record Siddique’s statement who is in the hospital.”
Every year during the monsoon, at least three to four cases of building collapse are reported keeping in mind their dilapidated condition.
Last year, six building collapses were reported in the city in which 13 people lost their lives and 26 were injured.
All six incidents took place between July and September.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) every year create a list of dilapidated buildings that are issued notices in order to vacate the structure.
The two buildings that collapsed on Wednesday around midnight were not on the list of dangerous buildings, according to BMC authorities.