A ground-plus-two structure located near Thakurli railway station in Thane collapsed Tuesday night, killing nine persons and injuring 10 more.
The ‘Matru Krupa’ building that housed 27 flats was in a dilapidated condition and had been issued eviction notices in the past, the local civic body said. Local residents alleged that they had approached the building owners several times seeking repairs but to no avail.
The Ramnagar police have registered an FIR against the owners of the building, Draupadi Patil and her sons Ramdas and Sharad, on charges of causing death due to negligence and committing act endangering the lives of people.
Following heavy rains through the day, the structure gave way from the left side and collapsed at 10.20 pm, taking 18 houses down. Nine other tenements that had been recently constructed survived. On Wednesday, residents of these houses were asked to vacate the flats, which too were subsequently razed.
Eyewitnesses said as the structure began to collapse Tuesday night, some people managed to jump out, while the elderly could not make it in time. Sharda Yadav, a 40-year-old homemaker who shifted from the building a few days ago, said, “The staircase of the building was damaged immediately. As a result, there was no way for several residents to come down in the few seconds that they had before the falling debris took them down. It was all over within a matter of minutes.”
Local civic and fire brigade officials and a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to the spot. Several persons were trapped under the debris and 19 were reported missing. Officials from the NDRF and the fire brigade started search and rescue operations. “As it started raining again, the situation worsened. However, after a nine-hour rescue operation, we managed to locate and pull out the 19 missing persons from below the debris,” said Sachidanand Gawande, Deputy Commandant, NDRF.
Of the 19, nine succumbed to injuries. The deceased were identified as T V Ishwaran, 67, Usha Kushan, 49, Partik Zankarkiya, 10, Usha Sundaram, 48, Vinu Francis Nadar, 11, his father Francis Nadar, 44, both residents of the second floor, Sushila Redij, 75, who was unwell and sleeping, Jamnaprasad Sharma, 70, a pan shop vendor, and his relative Rohit Giri, 18, who had come to the city from Uttar Pradesh a few days ago. Those who sustained serious injuries were rushed to the Sion hospital, while those with minor injuries were sent to the Shastri Nagar police station and the AIMS hospital in Dombivli.
Local ward officer Vinayak Pandey said the building had been in a dilapidated condition for a long time. “For the last six-seven years, we have been sending eviction notices to the building owners, but they did not get the flats vacated,” said Pandey. He said the civic body would check the records on whether the building had all permissions. “Buildings in the area are so close to each other with no side or rear margin. We will check how they got the permission to do so,” he said.