Mumbai's creaking infrastructure was on display again as a building collapsed in a congested locality on July 16 claimed as many as 13 lives and left over 40 people trapped under the debris. Civic officials said the four-storey residential Kesarbai building, in a maze of congested lanes and houses, came down shortly before noon. The building housed an eatery on the ground floor and was located in a bustling lane off Tandel Street
The search and rescue operations continued the whole night and were on till the nest day. According to Sachidanand Gawde, the PRO of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion, the operation will go on till the last piece of rubble is not removed from the spot
Hours after rescue operations began at Tandel Street in Dongri, where the four-storeyed Kesarbai Mansion collapsed on Tuesday, the BMC and MHADA were busy pushing the blame for the incident on each other. While BMC claimed the building falls under MHADA's jurisdiction, the latter said the structure was illegal. One of the trustees of Bai Hirbai Rahimbhai Aloo Paroo Trust, that owns the building, said both BMC and MHADA are to blame.
Civic officials from the B ward said the building was constructed in the early 1960s on land that is currently owned by the Bai Hirbai Rahimbhai Aloo Paroo Trust. Vivek Rahi, assistant municipal commissioner of B ward said the structure was a cess building, under MHADA's jurisdiction. Members of the trust, who are the landlords of the building, stated there are two buildings on their land and both are legal. These buildings are locally known as Kesarbai B and Kesarbai C — there is no Kesarbai A — of which the former collapsed
MHADA officials, however, claimed that the building is illegal. Vaishali Gadpale, chief public relations officer, MHADA said only one of the buildings comes under their jurisdiction. She said, "There were two buildings on the plot. Kesarbai Mansion comes under our jurisdiction and we had gotten the building vacated last year. The other building, which collapsed, is behind Kesarbai Mansion and is not a MHADA cessed property. It's an illegal property, which is why we didn't intervene."
Chief fire officer P Rahangdale said that since the neighbouring buildings were also at risk, they were all evacuated. He pointed out that they were able to rescue many of the victims alive but the process took time
After cutting through iron beams, spreading the wooden planks and removing debris using hydraulic cutters, spreader and power tools, which took around an hour and a half, the fire brigade officials continued their rescue operation
Since JCB diggers were not available, the disaster management labourers handed sacks of debris down a human chain. Later, they were able to bring a bobcat — a smaller digger — to help clear out the debris
Mumbai police have made lightening arrangements to carry out rescue operation during the night. It has so far registered an ADR into the mishap and will launch a detailed inquiry.
The recent Dongri building collapse has once again put the focus on Mumbai's stressed infrastructure with realtors and experts calling for strict enforcement of safety norms and regular audits to avoid such tragedies in the future. Every year, Mumbai sees instances of foot overbridge accidents, building collapse and other life-threatening but preventable incidents. These situation gets aggravated during the monsoon
The overnight death toll in Dongri building crash rose as more bodies were extricated from the rubble of the four-storied residential building. The said building Kesarbai is located in one of the oldest and most congested areas of south Mumbai, and rescue operations were hit with the narrow lanes, huge crowds of onlookers, VVIP movements and the media out in large numbers to cover the tragedy. Here's what happened so far. All pictures/Suresh KK, Bipin Kokate, Shadab Khan
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