A three-story residential building collapsed in Bhendi Bazar area, two days after heavy rains brought the city to a standstill.
Mumbai: A three-story residential building collapsed in Bhendi Bazar area near J.J. hospital in South Mumbai earlier today. At least 16 people have been killed and 34 injured, according to reports. Reports say ten people may still be trapped in the debris and rescue efforts are underway.
The collapse of the Arsiwala building comes two days after the city saw its heaviest rainfall in 12 years, in which at least five people were killed.
This incident comes weeks after another building collapsed in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar area, killing at least 17 people.
What we know
Death toll and injury: According to reporters, at least 15 people have been killed and 34 others injured.
According to IANS, the building also housed a nursery-cum-playgroup that was open at 10 am. Fire brigade officials said some nine families lived in the dilapidated building. The building, which also had six godowns on the ground floor.
Number of people trapped: Although rescue operations have been underway since morning, the exact number of those trapped remains unknown, according to deputy commissioner of police Manoj Sharma. Some news reports say at least ten people remain trapped.
Rescue operations: The fire brigade has been conducting rescue operations since it was informed of the collapse. The disaster management cell of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is run by the Shiv Sena, received a call at 8:40 am about the collapse.
“We immediately rushed fire brigade personnel to the site to rescue the trapped people. We fear that several people are trapped under the debris,” a senior BMC official said.
A 45-member team of the National Disaster Response Force has also been pressed into action.
Official response: Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, the chief of the BMC, has blamed the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, or MHADA, for the mishap.
Meanwhile, the BJP-led Maharashtra government has said it will conduct an inquiry into the collapse.
“Our priority is to pull out at the earliest those trapped under the rubble of the dilapidated building,” said Maharashtra industries minister Subhash Desai, who is also the guardian minister for Mumbai.
“Once the rescue work gets over, the government will conduct a probe to ascertain the factors behind the building collapse. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty,” he told reporters.
A meeting would be held with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis over the matter, Desai said.
“This particular building was already marked for redevelopment as it was dilapidated. A meeting will soon be held with the chief minister and an action plan will be prepared to rehabilitate those residing in such structures so that these incidents do not occur again,” Desai said.
Fadnavis announced Rs 5 lakh in compenstaion for the kin of those killed in the collapse.
What we don’t know
Cause: The building fell two days after heavy rains and floods inundated the city. Although at this time it remains unknown if rains were the cause for the collapse, it is safe to assume it had a role to play.
A BJP corporator said the building was over 100 years old. “It was over a century old and dilapidated like many of the buildings in the locality. But it is not clear whether it is included on the list of dangerous buildings,” Atul Shah said.
Official response: The Shiv Sena, which controls the BMC, having won the election earlier this year, has made no comment so far.
(With PTI inputs)