Sandeep Gupta was frantically sifting through a pile of debris created by the disintegration of four commercial units at Naupada in Thane yesterday. The 27-year-old, whose mobile repairing shop was one of the casualties, was busy salvaging cellphones and spare parts, right next to two JCBs at work.
Sandeep claimed he had lost handsets, software and cash worth lakhs in the debacle. “I had everything, from regular to high-end smartphones, in my shop. Around 9.30 am I came to know that my store had collapsed and rushed to the spot,” he said.
The shops, built over a nullah about 25 years ago, ostensibly crumpled because of the rains. Three people -- identified as Lokesh Angari (22), Kamlesh Angari (27) and Shivmangal Thakur (30) -- who were inside two of the units at the time were hurt. They were rushed to Kalwa’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital and have reportedly suffered head and back injuries.
Lokesh and Kamlesh, who are brothers, run a teashop in the area and hence start their business early. All the other stores open after 10 am. However, Shivmangal was sleeping inside a hair salon next to the teashop. “We are yet to corroborate details pertaining to the establishment of these outlets. The level of the nullah water seems to have risen leading to the fiasco. We would survey the place and if the adjoining shops are in a dangerous condition, they would be razed,” said Sandeep Malvi, public relations officer of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC)
The injured recounted the horror, maintaining that they were completely taken by surprise. “None of the other shops would open before 10 am, so nobody was present in them. The incident took place around 8.30 am, and suddenly we found ourselves inside the gutter below,” said Lokesh, who has received two stitches to his head. Elder brother Kamlesh said they were previously working at a teashop in Mulund, but recently decided to start up business here.
“A slab fell on my back, because of which I have been given some medication. We have lost most of our belongings, which were inside the shop,” he added.
“The injured have been sent to the hospital and we are investigating the case further,” said a police officer at the scene, who did not wish to be named.