Two more bodies were recovered on Monday from the debris of a two-storey building which collapsed in Bhiwandi town of Maharashtra’s Thane district, raising the death toll to eight, officials said.
The work of clearing the debris was underway for the third day, they said.
The building, which housed godowns on the ground and first floors and four families on the top floor, collapsed at 1.45 pm on Saturday at Wardhaman Compound in Valpada of Mankoli area. Till Sunday, six bodies were found from the debris.
The bodies of two more persons, identified as Dinesh Tiwari (34) and Ashok Kumar Mishra (32), were recovered between 6 am and 7 am on Monday in a joint operation by teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Thane Disaster Response Force (TDRF), Bhiwandi tehsildar Adik Patil told PTI.
Thane Municipal Corporation’s Regional Disaster Management Cell chief Avinash Sawant said the rescue operation and work to clear the debris was still on.
The building belonged to a popular food products company, he said.
Bhiwandi sub-divisional officer Amit Sanap said rescuers were proceeding cautiously as they have to take into account the possibility of survivors still remaining trapped and also have to ensure that bodies are not damaged due to the machinery being used.
The two bodies recovered in the morning have been sent to a government hospital for postmortem, he said.
The ill-fated building’s owner, Indrapal Patil, was arrested on Sunday and booked on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, officials said.
On Sunday, a 38-year-old man, identified as Sunil Pisal, was rescued from the debris and admitted to a hospital in Bhiwandi. The man thanked the NDRF and the TDRF for giving him a new lease of life on the occasion of his birthday on Sunday.
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.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the collapse site as well as the injured persons undergoing treatment in a hospital late Saturday night and termed the incident as “most unfortunate”.
He 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 a monetary advantage of scale, was the only solution to the problems arising on account of the dangerous buildings.
The Maharashtra government 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.