TWELVE PEOPLE KILLED % 11 INJURED WHEN A FOUR-STOREY BUILDING COLLAPSED IN GHATKOPAR AREA OF MUMBAI :

Twelve people, including an infant and seven women, were killed and 11 others injured when a four-storey residential building collapsed in suburban Ghatkopar on Tuesday, civic officials said. According to residents of the ill-fated Siddhi-Sai Cooperative Housing Society, the pillars of the building got weakened due to ongoing renovation of a nursing home located on its ground floor, reportedly owned by a local Shiv Sena leader.  “Until 9 pm, 23 people were extricated from under the rubble, out of whom 12 were declared dead while 11 injured have been admitted in various hospitals,” said Mahesh Narvekar, Head, Disaster Management cell, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.  Out of the injured, six persons were discharged later in afternoon, he said. When asked whether the search and rescue operation was called off, the officer said it would continue. A total of 60 National Disaster Response Force jawans along with sniffer dogs were pressed into service. According to the official, sniffer dogs helped in rescuing two people alive from under the debris. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the building collapse site on Tuesday. “An offence has been registered and police are investigating. I have directed the commissioner of BMC to investigate and submit report within 15 days,” he said.  Meanwhile, the police have detained one Sunil Shitap, said to be the owner of the nursing home on the ground floor of the building. “Prima facie, it appears that the accused was carrying out illegal renovation in the building. At this juncture, it will not be appropriate to give other details as investigations are underway and available information needs verification,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and order) Deven Bharti. Shitap was booked under sections 304-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) . Sources said Shitap is a leader of the Sena.  Eyewitnesses said they heard a loud sound, similar to that of lightning in the morning as the building crumbled in a massive heap of rubble. The structure, located in Ghatkopar’s DamodarPark area, housed around 15 families. “When I came out of my building, I found a lot of dust, cries of people seeking help. I saw parts of the building collapse,” an eyewitness said. According to a local resident, it was a 35-year-old structure.  The city and its suburbs received heavy rains over the last several days, though there has been some respite since Monday with downpour giving way to intermittent showers.  The Mumbai Police blocked the traffic on Lal Bhadur Shastri road to provide a ‘green corridor’ to rush those rescued to hospitals.  Rediff.com : 25th. July,17

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