Two dead after adjoining wada wall falls on them
A week after the dilapidated Dere wada collapsed at Kasba Peth on June 13, another decrepit 100-year-old clustered structure — Shinde wada —came crumbling down in the wee hours yesterday, killing a 17-year-old girl and her 75-year-old grandmother.
The deceased identified as Sudha Ramesh Patange and her grand daughter Vaishnavi Avinash Patange resided at Pataskar wada, and were crushed to death after the wall of the neighbouring Shinde wada fell on them while they were sleeping inside their home.
Police said that Shinde wada was on the demolition list of the Pune Municipal Corporation, but five days ago when civic officials arrived at the place to raze the extremely dangerous structure, tenants living there since a long time fiercely opposed the taking down of the wada, forcing the PMC officials to return.
“The owner of the wada, Shekhar Shinde had notified the PMC to demolish the wada. Four tenants residing at the three-storey structure, however, refused to leave their homes and were not ready to relinquish their claim,” said Anant Rajeshirke, police inspector at Faraskhana police station.
He further said that the when the Shinde wada collapsed due to the incessant rains, victims Sudha and Vaishnvi were sleeping in the room which close to the wall, while the other family members were in the front section of the house.
“The wall collapsed at 3.30 am and both the victims got buried under the debris. Fire brigade officials, with the help of the locals, later, extricated their lifeless bodies from the rubble,” said Rajeshirke.
Police said that had the Shinde wada tenants not opposed to the demolition earlier, the two lives would have been saved and the tragedy could have been averted.
Vaishnvi was studying in std XII and her father Avinash Patange has a tailoring business in the city, while her brother runs a newspaper agency in the area.
“The other members of the family, including her mother, sister, brother and father were saved, as they were sleeping in the front portion of the house,” said Rajeshirke.
PMC’s additional city engineer Vivek Kharwadkar said, “Pataskar wada was also listed as a dangerous structure and we had evicted the Patange family from the wada earlier. However, the family returned and started residing there, aware that the wada was in a dilapidated condition.”
He said that they had also issued eviction notices to the Shinde wada tenants, but they continued to stay put at the structure.
“The main bone of contention is that the tenants are not ready to relinquish the rights of tenancy and are doing it at the cost of their lives,” said Kharwadkar.
In 2011, the PMC conducted a survey of 186 wadas. Out of which PMC officials listed 108 wadas as extremely dangerous and contended that they should be razed. In 2012, the civic body demolished 70 wadas.
This year, 38 wadas are listed for demolition, of which 15 have been razed, while 23 are still remaining.