|Rescue operation at Mumbai's Dockyard road building collapse (Pic: Imtiyaz Shaikh)|
Sunday, September 29, 2013
50-hour rescue operation for Mumbai victims
MUMBAI (AA) - In what many describe as one of the longest rescue operations in the history of India’s financial capital, rescue teams were still on Sunday trying to find survivors in a four-storey government building which collapsed Friday.
At least 2 persons were rescued alive late Saturday night.
Cranes and other heavy rescue machines worked overnight to lift and cut large concrete slabs and mangled steel.
Hundreds of relatives and curious onlookers waited impatiently as the rescue workers drilled holes to find out any sign of life.
Apart from firefighters and civic body’s Disaster Control department, teams of Mumbai National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), were brought in to aid in the rescue operation.
The building collapsed in the early hours when most of the residents were sleeping.
Around 21 families lived in the 28-room building.
The death toll increased to 61 on Sunday morning as eight more bodies were recovered from the debris, civic authorities said.
Seven bodies are yet to be identified.
The injured have been admitted to state-run J J Hospital and Nair Hospital.
"Eight injured have been brought to the hospital and their condition is serious. The injured include a pregnant woman and a 2-year-old boy," said Dr. TP Lahane, dean of the JJ hospital.
The building is owned by Mumbai civic body, known as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has announced the compensation of Rs 200000 for families of every deceased person.
This is the second incident of building collapse in Mumbai in the last eight days.
On September 21, a five-storey private residence complex collapsed in Mumbra, a suburb on the outskirts of Mumbai, killing 3 people.
Built in 1980, the collapsed building was classified under the "C-2" category which meant it urgently needed repairs.
The building was served a notice recently for being in a dilapidated condition.
Interestingly, the BMC’s Planning and Design Department was preparing it for repairs.
An estimated Rs.1500000 was earmarked for the repair and innovation of the building, sources told Anadolu Agency.
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has promised strict action against those found responsible for the collapse.
"Action will be taken against those found guilty," vowed Sunil Prabhu, Mumbai mayor.
The BMC has formed two probe committees and immediately ordered an audit of buildings in similar condition.
Police have already arrested the owner of a decoration company which had taken the ground floor of the building on lease from the BMC.
Ashok Mehta, the company's owner, and his associates have been booked under different sections of Indian Penal Code, which include culpable homicide not amounting to murder, act endangering life or personal safety of others, causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others, acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.
In his complaint to the local police station, the BMC deputy commissioner accused Mehta of carrying out faulty and unauthorized renovation at his rented office-cum-warehouse on the ground floor.
"Mehta carried out alteration and renovation works without prior permission from the civic body and this had triggered the tragic incident," he said.
Mumbai is home to hundreds of old and dilapidated buildings which are prone to collapse during and after the heavy monsoon season.