The two-storey structure in Behrampada came crashing down on Saturday night, killing the 32-year-old woman and her 10-year-old daughter; three others from the family are injured and are in hospital
As rains continued to lash the city over the weekend, two died and three others from a family were injured when their ground-plus-two storeyed shanty in Bandra (East) collapsed on Saturday. While the family blamed a local builder’s demolitions for weakening their structure, government officials chose to pass the buck on who was actually responsible.
Farida and Zebran, two of the injured
The incident occurred on Saturday at 8.45 pm in the Behramapada slums. The collapsed structure housed Bilkis Qureshi (48), a housewife, her two sons, Imran (34) and Sajid (26), and Imran’s wife, Farida (30). The couple have three children: Saif (10), Zaid (9), and Fatima (2.5).
The family claimed that a builder had demolished a common wall, which weakened their shanty
On that day, Yasmin Shaikh (32), Bilkis’ daughter, had come to visit her mother, with her two children, Salina (10) and Zebran (5). At the time of the collapse, Bilkis, Yasmin, Salina and Zebran were on the first floor while Farida and Fatima were on the second floor.
Imran and Sajid had gone to the mosque to offer prayers. The ground floor has been rented out to another family, which managed to somehow escape. Neighbours and nearby residents got together to rescue those trapped under the debris.
Except for Bilkis, all the others were taken to Bhabha Hospital in Bandra, where Yasmin and Salina were declared dead. “Bilkis was sent to KEM Hospital as she had lost four of her fingers. Zebran suffered injuries on his right leg and waist, while Farida has injuries all over her body,” said Rashida Khan, a relative of the family who took them to the hospital.
The affected family and local residents blamed a local builder, Abu Solanki, for the incident, claiming that he had demolished some houses with which this residence had shared a wall. This led to the structure weakening and tumbling down.
Solanki, on his part, offered this explanation, “This incident happened because of the rains. They are constructing three- to four-storeyed shanties illegally.” According to local Congress corporator Gulista Shaikh, “All these huts are legal.
The state government has given permission to slum dwellers to build one-plus-one structures. But, in Behrampada, slum dwellers have violated the rule and constructed shanties up to four and five floors.”
The government authorities chose to play ‘pass the buck’. BMC’s Deputy Municipal Commissioner Ram Dhus said, “The shanties are illegal. We’ve complained against them to the collector many times, but no action has been taken.”
Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, Western Railway, said, “The land is under our jurisdiction. Since it’s an unauthorised structure, we will speak to the state authorities to take necessary action.”
Collector Shekhar Channe said, “We will have to check under whose jurisdiction this land falls. As per the MRTP Act, even the civic body can take legal action against such illegal structures. Hence, the issue of passing the buck to others should not come up.”