Thane: Residents blame renovation work on ground floor for collapse
Was the renovation work being carried out in a ground-floor flat of Krishna Niwas responsible for the building collapse that claimed 12 lives?Updated: Aug 04, 2015 22:18 IST
Was the renovation work being carried out in a ground-floor flat of Krishna Niwas responsible for the building collapse that claimed 12 lives?
While residents say yes, the civic body admitted that the ongoing work could have damaged the structure.
Gangaram Stampwala, who lived on the ground floor, was getting his 3BHK flat renovated for the past eight days. However, residents got concerned on Monday evening after plaster from the ceiling in other houses started to cave in.
A few of them even visited Stampwala and asked him to stop work, but he claimed that the renovation was nearly done.
Amrutlal Patel 35, a tea vendor who survived in the incident, said, “Tenants from the building, including Ramchandra Bhatt, 65, and Amit Ravindra Khot, 34, met Stampwala and told him to stop the work as portions of the ceiling had crumbled near the staircase as well. He, however, said only the plaster work was remaining, which would be completed by the next day.”
Patel said residents feared there was damage to the building, as the workers had used hammers during the renovation work.
“Bhatt told Stampwala that by the time the work finished, we would be in our graves. His words came true. Most of the people who went there are now dead,” said Patel, who is undergoing treatment for his injuries at the Thane civil hospital.
Civic officials said residents should have informed them about the incident. “If they had approached us or the police, we would have inspected the building on Monday itself and vacated it,” said civic chief Sanjeev Jaiswal, adding, “The renovation activity on the ground floor may have caused damage to the structure.”
Rajaram Ganpat Gohagarkar 74, who owns Gajanan Furniture mart shop on the ground floor of the building, said he had suffered a loss of at least Rs 25,000. “I have owned the shop since the 1970s. Stampwala never stayed in the house. He threatened the residents when they complained about the renovation work. Even on Monday, work was going on till 5pm,” said Gohagarkar, who also lived in the building for 15 years before moving out to a neighbouring building with his family 10 years ago.
The police said they will look into the residents’ complaint. “Most of the people rescued have been taken to the hospital. We have registered an accidental death case. Based on what we find during our investigation, we will book the person concerned, if found guilty. Most of the survivors are in no condition to give their statements,” said a senior officer from Thane commissionerate.