Eleven-month-old Sadaf Shaikhs family could not celebrate her almost miraculous survival,when the National Disaster Response Force pulled her out,unhurt,from the rubble at 6 am on Friday,almost 12 hours after the building collapsed.
Her family,along with the neighbours at the near-by Ekta Nagar basti,was busy organising money to bury 10 of its own who were crushed under the seven-storey illegal building that caved in Thursday evening,killing 58 and injuring more than 53.
While Sadaf survived,her mother,22-year-old Sakina,who was nine months pregnant,died before she could be rushed to the civic hospital. Sadafs family,like many others,had moved into this newly constructed building just three weeks ago.
The building was built in a record time of just two months. My family and other relatives moved into this building one by one. We had rented three flats. It was affordable. But nothing remains now, said Salman Shaikh,Sadafs uncle.
Sadafs father,Imran Sayyad,28,lay inconsolable in his bed at Kalwas civic hospital. He was informed about the tragedy only in the morning. On Thursday evening,I was watching the IPL coverage on TV when the whole building shook and collapsed. The fire brigade managed to pull me out a few hours later but the rest of the family could not make it. My entire life was destroyed in five seconds, he said,breaking down.
Imran lived on the fifth floor with Sakina,his daughters,three brothers and their families. Imran has suffered a fracture on his left leg and had no visitors until nearly 5 pm. All other family members are at Sakinas funeral. She was to have our third child in three days and we were going to admit her to a hospital on Friday. My older brother is in Mumbra with the bodies of other relatives, he said.
There are two buildings constructed adjacent to each other. My family lived in another one. They were made to shift here after the construction of the fifth floor was completed, said Sakinas brother Imram. While the family claims that they paid a rent of Rs 1,000,civic authorities claim that no rent was paid. The idea was to make people occupy this space. As per our preliminary investigations,the tenants were made to live here on a nominal rent, said commissioner of Thane Municipal Corporation,R A Rajiv. Builders get people to occupy floors to prevent demolition while the work is on,officials said.
While the first five floors were operational,construction work was being carried out simultaneously on other floors. At least three construction workers are believed to have died in the incident, said an official from Thanes disaster management department.