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Mahim building collapse: Demolition delayed over stolen pin

Mysterious circumstances associated with the Aftab Manzil collapse in Mahim seem limitless. On Thursday night, an essential component of a machine used for demolition -- the connecting pin -- was stolen from Cadille Street.


Destruction for greater good: The crusher that was being used to demolish the rest of the partly-collapsed structure in Mahim; (below) the pin that was stolen from the collapse site on Thursday night

The connecting pin is used to join the crusher to the arm of the Combilift machine. It holds the crusher to the arm and enables free movement during the demolition. The connecting pin, that was stolen, was taken to the site to be joined to the machine yesterday morning just before the demolition was to begin.

However, it went missing the previous night. Razing of remaining structure is necessary as it poses a major threat to the buildings around.

“We had a spare part with us and brought it along in the morning on the day of the demolition. Had the part not been available with us, it would have been impossible to carry out the demolition of the structure today,” said Uttkarsh Mehta, a partner of Edifice Engineering.

The firm has been given the contract by the civic body to carry out the demolition. The Combilift and the stolen part belonged to the firm. The demolition process, which was to start yesterday morning, was delayed till around 4 pm as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had to collect samples of the concrete and the iron used in the structure to figure out the reason behind the collapse.

The exact cause for the collapse of the Aftab Manzil is still unknown. Around 64 samples of the material used in the structure were collected and sent to the laboratory for testing.

“The samples have been collected from the building. They will help us determine the actual cause of the collapse. The results of the test will be out by next week,” said a BMC official present at the site.

Police action
Two people suspected of stealing the pin were detained by the Mahim police .

“We have detained two people on grounds of suspicion but no official complaint has been registered against them so far,” said an official from the Mahim police station. “They are drug addicts and we will decide on the course of action later. The part has not been recovered from them so far.” 

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