4-storey redeveloped Palghar building collapses, lucky escape for residents
The building had been declared unfit for occupancy by the authorities, yet some families continued to live there.Updated: Sep 02, 2020, 12:44 IST
Just nine days after a five-storey building in Raigad district of Maharashtra collapsed, killing 16 people and injuring nine others, a 25-year-old four-storey re-developed building named Safalya in Palghar’s Majithia Park collapsed around 0115 hrs on Wednesday. However, five families consisting of 22 members escaped unhurt.
The Nalasopara building was redeveloped in 2009, but in 2018 major cracks had developed in a few parts of the structure, following which the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) had declared the building dangerous and unfit for residents and issued evacuation notices to 20 odd flat owners. Around 15 families moved out, but five families consisting of 22 people, including men, women, children and senior citizens, decided to stay back in the building.
An unidentified resident said they stayed back since they could not afford steep rents in other buildings and we were fighting a court case against Abhay Naik, the builder, for shoddy construction using bad quality cement and materials. He alleged that Naik had also made some illegal structures without an approval from the VVMC.
A few of the residents had held a meeting in the building premises on the evening of Anant Chaturdashi (Tuesday) when they noticed a huge pile of soil near the main gate following which, the residents decided to lodge a complaint with the Vasai civic body on Wednesday.
At around 2315 hrs, while the residents were preparing to go to bed, they heard sounds of falling rubble. Upon inspection of the building they found out that a portion of the structure had fallen down and deeper cracks had emerged in the building.
Panicked residents evacuated the flats and gathered inside the building compound when at around 0100 hrs, the entire building collapsed like a pack of cards, moments after a couple identified as Dayanand Deorukhkar and Seema came down from their fourth floor flat in a miraculous escape.
The Vasai civic fire brigade services were at the spot to clear the debris and the disaster response team could be called for further help. The Nalla Sopara police were taking statements from the residents and the process of registering an FIR was on.