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Apr 06, 2013 at 06:10pm IST

Thane: Anger simmers in victims' families against illegal buildings

Mumbai: Anger is simmering against the real estate mafia that has let illegal constructions, like the collapsed Thane building, to flourish in the city. Relatives of the victims were inconsolable, and claimed that they weren't even informed that the building was illegal.

Mujhaheed lived in the doomed Thane building and was at work when the building collapsed, killing 72 people. He said he rushed back as soon as he heard about what had happened. Mujhaheed lived in the building with other workers, and all of them had come to Mumbai from the same place in Malda, West Bengal.

Mujhaheed found out that 12 people that he knew were now dead after the collapse. Even their bodies had been kept by the authorities and weren't being returned. When asked about whether he knew that the building was illegal, he said, "We don't know anything about that. We don't know if the building was legal or illegal."

Mujhaheed added that relatives back home in West Bengal were heartbroken and inconsolable. He choked when he added that they just want the bodies of the deceased to be returned to them. Asked to comment about what the West Bengal government should do to help the families of the victims, he said that, "We just want the kin of those killed to be compensated. They should be taken care of."

The sub inspector of the local police station and Thane Deputy Municipal Commissioner were suspended on charges of collusion with the builders on Friday. Shockingly, Thane Municipal Commissioner has admitted on record that 90 per cent of the buildings in Mumbra area are illegal.

Municipal Commissioner RA Rajeev said the building was built on forest land and two notices were sent to the building. "We had repeatedly asked the forest department to take action. We had asked MSEB to cut electricity to the building. We have issued total notices to about 250 illegal buildings in this belt. We try forcible removal. It is not easy. Also its a congested area our equipment is unusable here," said Rajeev.