Mumbai: Seventeen people including an infant were killed when a four-storey building in Mumbai’s suburb Ghatkopar came crashing down on Tuesday morning. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an inquiry after local residents linked the collapse to renovation being carried out in the ground floor by a local politician reportedly linked to the Shiv Sena.
Shortly after the fire department received the first call at 10.43 am, the chief fire officer Prabhat Rahangdale said many people were believed trapped under the rubble in Ghatkopar’s Damodar Park area. As local residents and Mr Rahangdale’s team started the rescue effort, they were able to pull out nearly two dozen people from under the debris over the next few hours. Two firemen were also injured during the operation.
The police said the building – apart from the nursing home on the ground floor – was also home to 12 families. Former Congress corporator Pravin Chedda said the nursing home was run by Sunil Shitap and Swati Sunil Shitap. A case has been registered against Sunil Shitap for negligence and culpable homicide. He has been detained by the police for questioning.
Swati Sunil Shitap had contested the last elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), earlier this year on a Shiv Sena ticket. “This hospital has been shut for the past two months. He (Sunil Shitap) wants to make a guest house here… He should be arrested,” Mr Chedda said.
Mumbai Mayor Mahadeshwar who is also from the Shiv Sena promised the guilty would not be spared. “There will be a full investigation done on this issue and whoever it may be, if he is guilty then there will be a strong action taken against him,” he said.
There have been several instances of buildings collapsing during the monsoon. In many instances, the incident was linked to illegal construction or people staying in buildings despite being classified as dilapidated.
In August last year, eight people were killed after a portion of a two-storey building collapsed in Bhiwandi on the outskirts of Mumbai. In October, six children died after a five-storey building had collapsed in Mumbai’s Bandra East,
A dilapidated building killed 12 people when it collapsed outside Mumbai in August 2015. Nine people had died the same month when another old three-storeyed building collapsed in monsoon rain in the Mumbai suburb of Thakurli.