Bhiwandi building collapse: Recent waterlogging could have weakened dilapidated building

Updated: 22 September, 2020 07:12 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Ex-owner of Patel Compound says civic body issued eviction notices to residents many times in 4 years, but they had nowhere else to go

The Sayyed Jilani building in Bhiwandi collapsed around 3.30 am. Pics/Sameer Markande
The Sayyed Jilani building in Bhiwandi collapsed around 3.30 am. Pics/Sameer Markande

The nearly 40-year-old Sayyed Jilani building in Bhiwandi that collapsed in the wee hours of Monday had been served notices by the municipal corporation several times in the past four years. Residents of the area also claimed that waterlogging on the ground floor may have weakened the building's foundation on one side.

Around 40 families had been living in the building and around 24 families fell victim to the collapse.

NDRF personnel rescue survivors from the site
NDRF personnel rescue survivors from the site

Siddique Patel used to own Patel Compound and over the years, plots were sold to different people who constructed buildings. Siddique's son, Junaid Patel, told mid-day, "It is very unfortunate as many children died in the incident. This will continue if the Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNCMC) does not take firm steps to evacuate residents of other dilapidated buildings." Around five buildings have been served notices to vacate by the civic body. Junaid claimed that when the plot was sold, a ground-plus-one structure with a handloom unit at the ground floor was built. However, two floors were added to the building in the past 20 years. Junaid added that the condition of the building went from bad to worse in the past few years and people knew about it.

"It is difficult to ascertain the exact reason for the collapse, but we feel the waterlogging in the handloom unit may have caused it. It may have weakened half the building," Junaid said.

Some residents of the area said structural alterations may have caused the collapse
Some residents of the area said structural alterations may have caused the collapse

A resident of the area said that structural alterations may have caused the collapse. "Around 15 days ago, the handloom workers staying on the ground floor had left due to waterlogging. The same portion of the building has collapsed. It is high time that the authorities take serious note of the incident and resettle the tenants of other dilapidated buildings," the resident said.

Another resident who did not wish to be named said, "There are residents who belong to the low income group and they had no option but to stay on in the building. Where would they have gone after vacating it?"

Tariq Khan and Junaid Patel
Tariq Khan and Junaid Patel

Awoken by loud crash

The building collapse has shattered Tariq Khan and his family, but he is also thankful that he realised there's something wrong in time and managed to save his son and wife.

Khan was born and brought up in Sayyed Jilani building itself, along with his cousins. Around 3.15 am, a huge sound woke him up. Within seconds, the electricity snapped. Khan ran down and realised that half the building had collapsed.

"I ran upstairs and woke up my wife, Asma and three-year-old son, Rehan. I brought them down and made them stand at a safe distance from the building," Khan, 34, said. Khan went up again to alert his cousin and his family. However, he soon realised that it was their portion of the building that had collapsed and his relatives were already under the debris. While one of his cousins got out safely, it was not known at the time of going to press, if Khan's other relatives survived the crash.

Two civic officials suspended

The Municipal Commissioner of BNCMC Dr Pankaj Ashiya suspended the Assistant Commissioner of Ward 3, Sudam Jadhav and Engineer and Evidence Officer Dudhnath Yadav and set up a committee to enquire into the collapse on Monday.

40
Approx. no. of families living in the building

24
Approx. no. of families affected by the collapse

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First Published: 22 September, 2020 07:01 IST

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