The body of a man was recovered on Sunday from the debris of a two-storey building which collapsed in Bhiwandi town of Maharashtra’s Thane district, taking the toll to four, an official said.
Fifteen people were still feared trapped, Thane Municipal Corporation’s Regional Disaster Management Cell (RDMC) chief Avinash Sawant said.
Twelve people were injured after the structure collapsed like a pack of cards at 1.45 pm on Saturday at Wardhaman Compound in Valpada area, officials said.
The building had godowns on the ground and first floors, while four families occupied the upper floor. Some workers were present on the ground floor when the structure collapsed, Sawant said.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were carrying out the search and rescue operation, he said.
At around 10.30 am on Sunday, the NDRF and SDRF teams recovered the body of a man, in the age group of 35 to 40 years, from the debris, Sawant told PTI.
The body, which was yet to be identified, was sent to a government hospital for postmortem, he said.
Earlier, one person, named Sunil Pisa (38), was rescued at around 8 am on Sunday from the debris and rushed to the IGM Hospital in Bhiwandi, Narpoli police station’s senior inspector Madan Ballal said.
A container and two tempos which had come to the godown for loading/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.
“It is feared that nearly 15 persons might be trapped. We are keeping our fingers crossed. Everything will be clear only after these floors are cleared,” he said.
Ten fire engines, ambulances, trucks and earth-moving machines were also pressed into the relief and rescue operation, he added.
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 that offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code have been registered against the structure owner, Indrapal Patil.
No arrest has been made so far, he added.
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 that 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.
He also directed the officials to immediately shift the people occupying such buildings to safer places as the monsoon was just around the corner.
Shinde said cluster development 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 Mahanto (7) and Prince Ravikumar Mahanto (5), who lost their mother Lalita Devi (26) in the incident.
He consoled the two siblings and told them “we are here with you.” 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.