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Rediff.com  » News » Thane building collapse: Toll 71; woman rescued after 36 hours

Thane building collapse: Toll 71; woman rescued after 36 hours

Last updated on: April 06, 2013 15:45 IST

The death toll from a building that collapsed in Thane, Maharashtra, has risen to 71. Among the dead are 25 children. Sixty-two people have been injured in the incident.

Television channels and other media quoted National Disaster Relief officials as saying that a woman had been rescued from the rubble on Saturday morning, 36 hours after being buried under the debris caused by the collapse of the unlicensed building.

Alok Awasthi, from the National Disaster Response Force, said that while it was a difficult situation, time was still on their side.

"We are facing no problems in carrying out the rescue work. The entire process will take time, maybe two to ten days. Our previous experiences in such cases show that we have rescued people from debris, alive, as late as eight days after accidents," he said.

"That is why we are working slowly but steadily and professionally to rescue the survivors in the incident," he added.

On Friday, a ten-month-old baby was rescued after 29 hours. She was rushed to a hospital immediately and is currently out of danger.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has confirmed that the building was illegal and has ordered an inquiry to determine why local officials did not spot the construction and stop it.

The deputy municipal commissioner and a senior police officer of the police station in the building's vicinity have been suspended.

The two builders responsible for the tragedy are underground. The police have filed a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against them.

The victims of the tragedy are mostly poor daily wagers working at the construction site and their families.

The seven storied building is reported to have been constructed in just six weeks, with the help of sub-standard material. An eighth floor was under construction when the building caved in on itself.

Homes, offices and shops had been set up within the building without an occupancy certificate.

Thane Municipal Commissioner R A Rajeev was quoted by a television channel as saying that 90 per cent of buildings in Mumbra were illegal.

The channel further quoted a local resident as saying that he had complained thrice since February about the building and even submitted photographs to the Thane Municipal Corporation, which is controlled by the Shiv Sena.

He also claimed that he had sent copies to the Chief Minister's Office, but no one had responded.

In 2010, the state government hads admitted that there are as many as five lakh illegal buildings in Thane, and three years later, just 11,000 have been demolished.

In 2012, India's urban housing shortage was estimated at nearly 19 million households, according to a report by the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation.

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