Mumbai: Forty eight people have reportedly died and over 60 have been injured in Maharashtra's worst building collapse in a decade, after a seven-storied under-construction illegal building collapsed in Thane on Thursday. According to the Thane Deputy Collector, the dead included 12 children and five women and over 36 people have sustained serious injuries in the incident.
The National Disaster Response Force, which is leading the rescue efforts, said many children are still trapped in the debris. Thane Police Commissioner KP Raghuvanshi said, "Rescue operation is on. Our first priority was to rescue as many people we can. It was a newly made building. Efforts are on to nab the builders."
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 forcibal removal. It is not easy. Also its a congested area our equipment is unusable here," said Rajeev.
Meanwhile, the police have registered a case of culpable homicide against the builder, who remains untraceable. The incident took place at 6:30 pm on Thursday following which fire tenders and medical teams were rushed to the spot. Several people remain trapped under the debris and the rescue operations still continue.
According to Deputy Collector Manoj Gohad, the building in the Shil Dhaigar locality was unauthorised and was occupied up to the fourth floor. Municipal Commissioner RA Rajeev and District Collector P Velarasu are supervising the relief operations.
Around 28 families were reportedly moved into the building even while construction was on and were living without an occupancy certificate because the builder feared the building would be demolished otherwise.
Civic officials said the building in Shil Dhaigar locality was unauthorised. They claimed that it was built on forest land and was occupied at least up to the fourth floor.
MNS legislator from Kalyan township of Thane, Ramesh Patil alleged that he had complained to the municipal commissioner last week that the building was unauthorised and unfit for occupation, but no action was taken on it.
More than a dozen fire tenders along with over 24 ambulances were stationed at the site of the accident. The operations were carried out under the supervision of Civic Commissioner RA Rajeev and District Collector P Velarasu. Additional Collector Ashok Shingare took charge of the district disaster control room and made arrangements for the civil defence and other rescue teams.
The injured were admitted to various hospitals including Thane Civil, CSM Civic hospital at Kalwa, Kalsekar hospital in Kalwa, while those in critical condition were shifted to Sion and JJ Hospital.
With Additional Inputs from PTI