12 killed in Thane building collapse

50-year-old structure comes crashing down; second incident in a week
Last Updated : 04 August 2015, 20:44 IST
Last Updated : 04 August 2015, 20:44 IST

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At least 12 people, including five from Karnataka, were killed when a 50-year-old three-storeyed building in the B-Cabin area here, nearly 30 km from downtown Mumbai, caved in early on Tuesday.

This is the second building collapse in Thane in a week’s time. On July 29, a three-storeyed dwelling caved in killing nine people and injuring several others at Thakurli, in Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) area.

Officers and personnel from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), fire brigade and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were involved in the rescue operations.

TMC Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal said it was not an illegal structure and that “the cause of the crash is being investigated.”

The building had 15 flats and five families were present at the time of the collapse. The rooms were let out on “pagdi” system where the owner and tenants bear half the cost of the flats.

Reports stated that there was some dispute between the tenants and the owners. Also, there are conflicting reports on the building’s condition.

People living in nearby buildings said that there were some repairs going on in the ground floor.

“We came out of the buildings after hearing a thud. We could see the entire building crashing,” said Rajesh, who stays nearby. The ground floor had a tea stall, wheat grinder and a loom. The tea stall owner, Amrutlal Patel, who lost his daughter in the incident said: “My wife and three employees were living in the compound, but I lost my daughter, who came under the rubble...It was destiny and god’s wish.”

Four members of the Bhat family–Ramchandra Pandurang Bhat (65), Mira Ramchandra Bhat (58), Subhrav Pandurang Bhat (54) and Rachita Ramchandra Bhat (22)– and Rashmi Mange (25), were among the dead who hailed from Karnataka.  

Public Works Minister Eknath Shinde and Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, however, said that the building was old and was listed in the category of dangerous structures.

“What we have gathered till now is that there was some dispute between the owner and tenants...at the government level, we are working on a policy to ensure that such issues are sorted out,” said Shinde.

“We have to think of compulsory rehabilitation in case of dilapidated buildings so that people are not at danger. We are preparing a draft that would overlook the owner-tenant dispute,” Mehta said.  

Local NCP legislator and former minister Jitendra Awhad said the B-Cabin area came up during 1930s and 1940s and most of the buildings are old.

“Old buildings are a problem area in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region...we need to come out with a concrete policy on this,” said Thane Mayor Sanjay More.

Published 04 August 2015, 20:44 IST

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