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Toll rises to six in building collapse in Maha’s Bhiwandi; owner of structure detained

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THANE, April 30 (PTI): The toll in the collapse of a two-storey building in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra’s Thane district reached six on Sunday after the body of a 40-year-old man was recovered from the debris, officials said.

The owner of the ill-fated building in Wardhaman Compound in Valpada in Mankoli has been detained, officials added.

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The building, which housed godowns on the ground and first floors and four families on the top floor, collapsed into a heap of concrete at 1:45pm on Saturday.

Several people are still feared trapped and work of clearing the debris as part of the search and rescue operation helmed by the National Disaster Response Force, the State Disaster Response Force, fire brigade and civic teams continued, Thane Municipal Corporation regional disaster management cell chief Avinash Sawant said.

“Three bodies have been recovered since Sunday morning. They have been identified as Sudhakar Gavai, 22-year-old Pravin Chaudhary and Triveni Yadav (40), whose body was found in the evening,” Sawant said.

Earlier, one person named Sunil Pisa (38) was rescued at around 8 am on Sunday from the debris and rushed to IGM Hospital in Bhiwandi, Narpoli police station’s senior inspector Madan Ballal said.

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A container and two tempos which had come to the godown for loading and unloading were also crushed.

Sawant said the rescue teams have cleared the upper floor, but the ground floor and the first floor where most of the workers were working in the godowns have not been cleared so far.

The building belongs to a popular food products company, Sawant added.

“Ten persons, including two siblings who lost their mother in the incident, are being treated for injuries. Ten fire engines, ambulances, trucks and earth-moving machines were also pressed into the relief and rescue operation,” he added.

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Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde termed the incident as “most unfortunate” and visited the collapse site as well as the injured persons undergoing treatment in Bhiwandi’s IGM Hospital late Saturday night.

Bhiwandi deputy commissioner of police Navnath Dhavle told PTI offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code have been registered against the structure owner Indrapal Patil.

Patil has been detained for questioning in connection with the incident, the official said.

The building was about 10 years old and possibly could not take the load of a mobile tower recently installed on top of it, according to a civic official.

CM Shinde told reporters he has instructed Thane Collector Ashok Shingare and other authorities to immediately carry out a survey of the structures declared ‘most dangerous’ in the district and shift people living in them to safer places before the onset of monsoon.

Shinde said cluster development, where several buildings on a large area are developed to give people monetary advantage of scale, was the only solution to the problems arising on account of the dangerous buildings.

At the IGM Hospital, CM Shinde enquired about the condition of the injured persons, including two minor brothers, Prem Ravikumar Mahato (7) and Prince Ravikumar Mahato (5), who lost their mother Lalita Devi (26) in the incident.

Shinde has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, while medical expenses of the injured would be borne by the state government.

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