Mumbai: 13 people died and 30 others were injured after a five-storey building collapsed in Mumbai's Mazgaon area this morning.
Rescue and relief operations are still on. A joint rescue mission is being carried out by the Mumbai Fire Brigade, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) disaster management team and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). The pancake collapse meant that it would take time for rescue officials to extricate people from the rubble.
The ground floor of the building was let out to a decorator. The four floors above had 22 tenements that were occupied by residents. Since it was early in the morning, most of the tenements were occupied. The building had come up in early 80s and was due for major repairs.
"An enquiry has been ordered into why the repairs were delayed and any official found guilty will be strictly dealt with," said Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu.
Sachidanand Gawade, the Deputy Commandant of the NDRF, told NDTV, "We will continue our operations till the time we are convinced that we have brought the last person out."
The BMC has registered a case against the decorator, who owned an office on the ground floor, for unauthorised construction. An audit of all similar buildings in the city has also been ordered. The families who have lost their homes will be given alternative accommodation in the vicinity. A compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of those who have died has also been announced.
This is perhaps the worst monsoon for Mumbai and Thane as far as building collapses are concerned, with more than seven buildings already having crumbled this season. The death toll in these accidents is more than 100. Rescue efforts at Mazgaon were hampered by the intermittent showers which made it difficult for the NDRF teams to cut into the concrete and pull out survivors.
Larger questions are being raised over the administration dragging its feet over repairs and demolitions of unsafe buildings. The lack of action has brought a tragedy to the doorstep of the BMC with many of their own employees being buried under the rubble. With nearly 950 very dangerous buildings in Mumbai alone, the question citizens are asking is how many more collapses will it take for authorities act?