Mumbai: After ceiling crash kills 21-yr-old, kin donate his eyes

Jan 21, 2016, 07:48 IST | Faisal Tandel

A portion of the ceiling collapsed and crushed the man in his sleep; family blames flat owner for neglecting repairs

When Abhishek Jha said goodnight to his family on Tuesday night, he wasn’t aware that it would be his last. The 21-year-old died after a chunk of plaster from the ceiling of his one room-kitchen flat in Kalwa fell on him when he was asleep. Abhishek had sustained multiple injuries and was rushed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital in Kalwa, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 1 am on Wednesday.

Abhishek Jha wanted to be a fashion designer
Abhishek Jha wanted to be a fashion designer

Donated his eyes
Abhishek was a second year commerce student and stayed with his family on the third floor of Mahadev Bhavan, a three-storey building, near Mukund Company, Vithawa Kalwa. He is survived by his parents Vinod Jha and Sangeeta, brother Akhilesh and sisters Archana and Vandana.

Akhilesh, brother of Abhishek, shows the remains of the ceiling. Pics/Sameer Markande
Akhilesh, brother of Abhishek, shows the remains of the ceiling. Pics/Sameer Markande

The family has donated his eyes to Sahiyara Eye Bank.

His father Vinod Jha said, “We lost our loved one, who was young, energetic and enthusiastic about doing something in life. He wanted to be a fashion designer. Our mourning can’t bring him back. So, instead of crying we have donated his eyes to help someone see the world.”

Abhishek’s mother Sangeeta is inconsolable
Abhishek’s mother Sangeeta is inconsolable

The Jha family has been staying in the rented flat for last three years paying a rent of R4,000 per month. Abhishek’s brother, Akhilesh, was with him in the same room along with other family members on the night of the accident. Abhishek usually slept in the kitchen area, however, on the ill-fated night, he slept in the hall where his brother usually sleeps.

He shouted ‘bhai’
“Abhishek went to sleep in the kitchen around midnight, while we went to sleep at 12:25 am. Within five minutes, we heard a loud noise and Abhishek shouted “bhai”. My mother thought it was an earthquake but when we switched on the lights we saw Abhishek’s body beneath a huge chunk of ceiling plaster. He was breathing at the time, so we rushed him to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” said Akhilesh, adding that his brother-in-law Govind was sleeping next to the deceased and has sustained minor injuries.

The family blames the flat owner for the incident, as they had approached the landlord to undertake repairs. However, the landlord didn’t take any action. “A month back, the plaster of the kitchen had fallen but no one was injured. We were continuously calling the owner to do the repairs, but all our calls went in vain,” said Akhilesh.

The family has finally decided to move out of the flat next month.

Cop speak
“The family was in trauma, so we couldn’t take their statement. We found that the building was too old. If we find any negligence in the case, we will book the persons accordingly,” J Babar, senior police inspector, Kalwa police station.

Official speak
Santosh Kadam, disaster management department, Thane Municipal Corporation, said, “We received a call at 4:17 am. We reached the spot to survey the place. The building is a 21-year-old structure and isn’t maintained properly. We questioned one person from the building, who said earlier every flat owner allegedly used to pay R300 monthly for the maintenance work, but since a year no one has paid up.”

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