Mumbai: Water tank collapses on house in transit camp in Andheri, injures seven

Aug 06, 2018, 07:24 IST | Shailesh Bhatia

A joint family, with three kids and a nine-month pregnant woman, escaped with minor injuries

Mumbai: Water tank collapses on house in transit camp in Andheri, injures seven
The house was destroyed in the tank collapse. Residents allege the stand on which the water tank was installed, had corroded. Pic/Shailesh Bhatia

A joint family of seven, including three school going children and a nine months pregnant woman, had a lucky escape when a 5,000 lt overhead water tank collapsed and destroyed their house at 9.15 am on Sunday in the Sagar City transit camp, Andheri West. The injured family was pulled out of the debris by alarmed neighbours, who rushed them to Cooper Hospital, where they are undergoing treatment for multiple injuries not serious in nature.

This reporter saw the entire ceiling of the first floor had crashed. Ankle high water covered the ground floor. A neighbour informed that there was a deafening sound that scared the entire transit camp, which houses over a thousand people, when the plastic tank crashed. Many people panicked. Some rescuers experienced electric shocks when they stepped into the water, due to the electrical fittings in the ground-plus-one house. They then shut the power supply to the house. There is another overhead water tank of similar size in the camp, which residents feel could be the source of another accident.

"Two brothers and their families stay here. The children, Simran, Afia and Kashifa, are aged between 5 and 8. The brothers' wives are Rubina, who is physically challenged, and Tabassum, who is due for delivery soon. Ayub and Kalam Sheikh, who work as civil contractors, were still asleep after night shift when the incident occurred," said Shaheen Sheikh, an educationist, who is a neighbour.

Residents warned builder
Ayub claimed that their home was demolished 12 years ago and the family was promised flats under the SRA scheme within 18 months by a builder. "We had warned the builder not to install the overhead tank, as it could be hazardous to life and property, but were not taken seriously. He had got it installed on a 10 ft high stand and it didn't look safe. Today we are living in sub-human conditions. The houses are prone to flooding every monsoon and all kinds of garbage, even human feces enters our homes. For now I am only happy that no one was seriously hurt in our family," he said.

Describing the incident as a disaster that was waiting to happen, municipal councillor Meher Mohsin Haider alleged that there were thousands of families in her jurisdiction, who have been dumped in ill maintained transit camps, some of which are over 20 years old. "I have made numerous complaints to concerned departments, asking for an annual structural audit of all transit camps, so accidents are averted. Just a few months back a 10-year-old fell from a dilapidated wall in a transit camp, and died" she said.

Blown out of proportion
Subhash Surve, the re-development project manager at the transit camp, initially stated that he was out of Mumbai and not aware of the accident, but subsequently underplayed the episode, alleging that the overhead tank was empty, and the residents were unnecessarily creating an issue from an incident which was minor in nature.

5k
Capacity of the water tank in litres

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