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Death toll in Bhiwandi building collapse rises to 25

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck
Last updated on: September 23, 2020 01:03 IST
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The death toll in the Bhiwandi building collapse in Maharashtra rose to 25 on Tuesday, with the recovery of a dozen more bodies overnight, police said.

 

IMAGE: National Disaster Response Force and Fire Brigade rescue carry an injured person from the site after a three storey building collapsed, at Bhiwandi in Thane district. Photograph: PTI Photo

 

The number of those rescued has gone up to 25, with five more persons being pulled alive out from the debris since Monday night, police said.

The dead include 11 children, aged between two to 15 years, an official said.

Those rescued are being treated at hospitals in Bhiwandi and Thane, he added.

Search and rescue personnel are still at the site, trying to pull out a few more persons still feared trapped, he said.

The 43-year-old Jilani building collapsed at 3.40 am on Monday.

Two civic officials have been suspended in connection with the collapse and an offence has been registered against the building owner, an official said.

The building in the powerloom town -- which is around 10 km from Thane - had 40 flats and around 150 persons lived there, an official said.

The building, located at Narpoli's Patel Compound near Dhamankar Naka, collapsed while the residents were asleep.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and personnel of the Thane Disaster Response Force (TDRF) are still at the spot as the search operation continues, he said.

The building was not in the list of dilapidated structures of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation (BNMC), he said.

Bhiwandi DCP Rajkumar Shinde said offences under Sections 337, 338, 304(2) of the Indian Penal Code were registered against the owner of building Sayyed Ahmed Jilani after a complaint by civic officials.

The BNMC suspended two senior officials in connection with the building collapse.

An inquiry committee has also been set up and will include the assistant town planner, he said.

Meanwhile, a building resident said most residents of the building were tenants and included autorickshaw drivers, vendors and labourers.

A civic official said the building was served two notices, one in 2019 and another in February, over alleged irregularities, but the residents did not leave as the rent was very low.

Maharashtra rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the issue of unauthorised and dangerous buildings in Bhiwandi was a serious one and it will be discussed in the state cabinet.

The minister, who visited the collapse site on Tuesday, told reporters that a decision would be taken about sanctioning of additional FSI and other measures for rehabilitation of affected persons.

Action would be taken against those responsible for the collapse, he said.

Each factor that may have caused the collapse, including weakening of the building's foundation because of powerlooms operating on its ground floor and the drainage system of the structure, will be probed into, he said.

Survivor joins rescue work on leaving hospital

Meanwhile, a day after being pulled out alive from the debris of the crashed building, a man quickly got back on his feet and joined rescuers at the site on Tuesday, driven by zeal to help those in distress.

Khalid Abdul Khan, 42, was among 25 persons who were rescued from the debris of the building by personnel of the TDRF.

The 43-year-old 'Jilani' building in Bhiwandi town of Thane district collapsed at 3.40 am on Monday.

Khan was one of the occupants of the ill-fated three-storey building.

He was pulled out alive by a TDRF team after about 18 hours and given first aid at a hospital.

After leaving the hospital, on Tuesday, much to surprise of people, he came to the crash site and was seen assisting the TDRF team in rescue and relief operation.

Khan joined the TDRF team in clearing the debris and looking for survivors.

Talking to the media, Khan said while trapped under the rubble, he heard the voice of a TDRF team member who was looking for survivors and calling out for them.

The voice was of rescuer Akshay Patil.

Khan said on hearing the voice, he got confidence that he will be saved.

"It was as if God had sent him to save me. TDRF members were like 'farishte' (angels) sent by God," Khan said, profusely praising rescuers for their dedication.

A force like TDRF is the need of the hour and the Maharashtra government should create many more such units, he said.

When TDRF members, who were the first to reach the scene, saved the life of a child, those present at the spot clapped and appreciated their work.

The TDRF, which comes under the Thane Municipal Corporation's Disaster Control Cell, was formed to deal with fallout of calamities.

The TDRF was formed in 2018 with 12 jawans and the force now has 33 personnel. It was seen in action when the Mahalaxmi Express train had got stranded in floods on outskirts of Mumbai in July 2019.

The force has also taken part in several relief and rescue operations during floods and in aftermath of building collapses in Thane district and nearby areas.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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