At least seven people, including three women, were killed as an old, four-storied residential building collapsed in south Mumbai while eight injured persons were rescued from the debris, BMC Disaster Control officials said here.
Another dozen odd families are still believed trapped under the rubble of the Kesarbai Building in the Dongri area.
Those killed been identified as Sabiya Nissar Shaikh, 25, Saira Rehan Shaikh, 25, K. Amirajan, 13, Abdul Sattar Kaloo Shaikh, 55, Muzammil Mansoor Salmani, 15, Javed Ismail, 34, and Arhan Shehzad, 40, said a police spokesperson.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a probe into the building crash and assured strict action against those found guilty.
Opposition leaders like Vijay Wadettiwar, Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan (Congress), Dhananjay Munde, Majeed Memon, and Nawab Malik (Nationalist Congress Party), and Abu Asim Azmi (Samajwadi Party) lashed out at the government for lapses leading to the tragedy.
They unitedly demanded a detailed investigation into the causes leading to the accident, identifying the culprits and booking them under charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Meanwhile, an RTI activist said that the name of the dilapidated structure, is mysteriously omitted from a comprehensive list of 499 “dangerous” buildings prepared by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“The BMC, as per the directions of the Bombay High Court, had compiled the list of the dilapidated buildings, which we secured through a RTI reply. Shockingly, Kesarbai Building’s name is not mentioned anywhere in the list,” Shakeel Ahmed Sheikh told IANS.
Later on Tuesday evening, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) chief spokesperson Vaishali Gadpale cleared the air on the building’s status.
In a statement, she said that the main dilapidated structure, Kesarbai Building 25/C was completely evacuated by the MHADA last year and the building which collapsed on Tuesday “was the illegal rear portion of this building which is not within the purview of the Mumbai Building Repair & Reconstruction Board”.
Earlier in the day, MBRRB Chairman Vinod Ghosalkar had said that the dilapidated structure, believed to be over 80 years old, had been handed over for redevelopment to B.S.B. Developers, which has not yet started the work.
“This is a serious matter and we shall investigate why the redevelopment work was not initiated, what caused the delays and take appropriate action against those responsible,” Ghosalkar told IANS.
Among those rescued from the debris include a woman, two men and a child, who are being treated at various hospitals.
As a precautionary measure, the police evacuated all residents of an adjoining building and shifted them to a nearby school to facilitate the relief works.
However, narrow approach roads, huge crowds and thickly populated areas, besides continuous VVIP movements to the site, affected rescue operations.