Thane, Maharashtra, Oct 26: Eight persons, including seven women and a child, and 15 others were injured when a three-storey unauthorised building, constructed four years back, collapsed like a pack of cards on Tuesday evening in Bhiwandi's Naya Basti.
Rescue operations continued throughout the night and on Wednesday morning, in search of survivors as nearly 20 families used to stay inside this cramped building.
Among those killed were Saira Shaikh, 22; Naushad Shaikh, 18; and Sana Shaikh, 18. The building is located near Glory English High School on Kalyan road.
One person has been arrested by police, which is on the lookout for the building owner.
Civic officials and local residents traded blame over the collapse.
“It was a three-storey unauthorised structure. Additional construction was done on the building without the civic body's permission,” said Achyut Hange, Bhiwandi-Nizampura Municpal Corporation commissioner. When it was constructed in 2007, the building was one-storeyed. Two more floors were added in the following years. In March, the corporation certified the building as dangerous and issued an eviction notice to its residents. “But the other party obtained a stay order,” Hange said.
Residents, on the other hand, blamed former corporator Sayyed Naseer for the collapse.
Rukhsana Anari, whose 70-year-old mother moved in to a third-flloor flat in the building six months ago attributed the collapse to poor quality of construction.
“The land belonged to one Jagdish, but the construction was done by former corporator Sayyed Naseer. Both are to be blamed,” Anari said.
The injured were rushed to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Bhiwandi, from where seven were shifted to Thane Civil Hospital.
At least 25 persons were trapped inside the rubble late till night and local officials feared that the number of casualties could rise.
Three JCB machines, one crane and two fire engines were pressed into service.
The National Disaster Response Force and a team from Mumbai and Thane have also been called in for the rescue operation. Those injured include workers of a plastic factory located on the ground floor of the building.