Cylinder blast renders 200 residents homeless in Nerul

After the explosion caused the kitchen wall of a flat in Panchratna building, Nerul to collapse, families have been asked to evacuate their homes by the NMMC, till a structural audit report deems the building safe

Over 200 people have been left without a home after a freak incident involving an LPG cylinder explosion damaged their building. After a cylinder exploded in the Panchratna building in Nerul, causing a portion of the wall to collapse, the structure has been damaged and rendered uninhabitable. The families have been asked to shift out of their homes.

Residents are eating and sleeping in the building compound after their homes were damaged by the blast
Residents are eating and sleeping in the building compound after their homes were damaged by the blast

MiD DAY had reported on the accident in which Shalaka and Ravindra Tondwalkar, who reside on the second floor of the Panchratna society, replaced their empty cylinder with a filled one. But, the duo didn’t affix the regulator valve correctly, causing the gas to leak ('Cylinder blast blows up kitchen wall, kills two', February 5).

The cylinder blast that ripped the wall off in the second-floor apartment at Panchratna society
The cylinder blast that ripped the wall off in the second-floor apartment at Panchratna society

The blast was triggered after their son Sachin tried to switch off the electricity supply as a precautionary measure. The explosion was so powerful that it ripped apart the kitchen wall, which fell on two residents below and killed them. The building, too, was damaged and residents have been asked to move out of their homes, for their own safety. The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) will carry out a structural audit to determine whether the structure is safe to live in.

MiD DAY report on February 5
MiD DAY report on February 5

Meanwhile, the residents of the 68 flats in the building are now without a roof over their heads and are living in the building compound – sleeping and eating out in the open. The NMMC has provided them with a place in a municipal school NMMC Civic School no 11, Kukshet village, Nerul.

But with all their belongings back home, people have chosen to stay on the society premises. According to the press note released by the civic body, the authorities will be providing food to the affected residents as well.

Two residents Savitri Solkar (65) and Vatsala Joshi (66) are still in the ICU of Dr D Y Patil Hospital in Nerul. Dr Shyam More, deputy medical superintendent of the hospital, explained, “Besides them, there are two other boys who are recovering in the surgery ward.

Their family is living here at the hospital, as their homes aren’t in a condition to stay in. One of the boys has suffered a fracture, while the other has some bodily injuries.” Meanwhile on Wednesday evening, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and Mayor Sagar Naik declared a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the families of the two who died, and Rs 50,000 for the 12 injured.


Man who died saving others
Most families are indebted to Tukaram Dighe, one of the two who died in the mishap. Dighe had gone out to put off the main electricity switch to ensure no further incidents occur. “He had gone out to switch off the power supply when the slab fell on him. He died on the spot, while trying to save others,” lamented Worli resident Sangeeta Pawar, his niece.

My wife Deepali and I were at home. The explosion was so huge that the tiles of my house broke off and a part of the wall collapsed. Our flat is definitely not in a condition worth living in. We have no option but to live in the compound. - Sumit Bagal, who lives above the apartment in which the blast occurred

The kids who have exams cannot afford to miss it. Although NMMC has provided us with a place to live, it’s not possible to stay there when all our belongings are here. - Satish Ramani, another resident of the building

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