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Death toll in Bhiwandi building collapse rises to 33; search, rescue operations continue

The death toll in the Bhiwandi building collapse in Maharashtra rose to 33 on Wednesday, with the recovery of a dozen more bodies overnight, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said. The number of those rescued has gone up to 33, with five more persons being pulled alive out from the debris since Monday night.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: September 23, 2020 7:30 IST
Bhiwandi building collapse
Image Source : PTI

Thane: Search and relief works underway on the second day at the site of the building collapse at Bhiwandi in Thane, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020.

The death toll in the Bhiwandi building collapse in Maharashtra rose to 33 on Wednesday, with the recovery of a dozen more bodies overnight, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said. The number of those rescued has gone up to 33, with five more persons being pulled alive out from the debris since Monday night, police said. The dead include 11 children, aged between two to 15 years, an official said. Those rescued are being treated at hospitals in Bhiwandi and Thane, he added.

Search and rescue personnel are still at the site, trying to pull out a few more persons still feared trapped, he said.

The 43-year-old Jilani building collapsed at 3.40 am on Monday.

Two civic officials have been suspended in connection with the collapse and an offence has been registered against the building owner, an official said.

The building in the powerloom town - which is around 10 km from Thane - had 40 flats and around 150 persons lived there, an official said.

The building, located at Narpoli's Patel Compound near Dhamankar Naka, collapsed while the residents were asleep.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and personnel of the Thane Disaster Response Force (TDRF) are still at the spot as the search operation continues, he said.

The building was not in the list of dilapidated structures of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation (BNMC), he said.

Bhiwandi DCP Rajkumar Shinde said offences under sections 337,338,304 (2)of the IPC were registered against the owner of building Sayyed Ahmed Jilani after a complaint by civic officials.

The BNMC suspended two senior officials in connection with the building collapse. An inquiry committee has also been set up and will include the assistant town planner, he said.

Meanwhile, a building resident said most residents of the building were tenants and included autorickshaw drivers, vendors and labourers.

A civic official said the building was served two notices, one in 2019 and another in February, over alleged irregularities, but the residents did not leave as the rent was very low.

Maharashtra rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the issue of unauthorised and dangerous buildings in Bhiwandi was a serious one and it will be discussed in the state cabinet.

The minister, who visited the collapse site on Tuesday, told reporters that a decision would be taken about sanctioning of additional FSI and other measures for rehabilitation of affected persons.

Action would be taken against those responsible for the collapse, he said.

Each factor that may have caused the collapse, including weakening of the building's foundation because of powerlooms operating on its ground floor and the drainage system of the structure, will be probed into, he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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