The death toll has gone up to 10 in the Kausar Baug building collapse in Dongri. Three teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are engaged in rescue operations, reported news agency ANI. Eight people have been injured in the incident, so far.
The century-old building in South Mumbai collapsed on Tuesday morning. While the rescue operations took a little longer to begin due to the narrow lanes making it impossible for large vehicles to move in, at least 40-50 people are believed to have been trapped under the debris.
The building, named Kausar Baug, was a ground plus four-storied structure. It collapsed at around 11.40 am and the fire brigade got the first information at 12.10 pm.
Narrow lanes in the Abdul Hamid Durgah area of Dongri in South Mumbai made it very difficult for the official agencies to reach the spot. While local people had begun rescue operations along with fire brigade and BMC officials, the NDRF team could reach the spot only after about two hours, said, officials.
At least 15 families were living in the building, which was declared dilapidated and had already been handed over to a developer for redevelopment, officials added.
“The building belonged to Maharashtra Housing Development Authority (MHADA). However, it had been given No Objection Certificate (NOC) for redevelopment and a developer was appointed by local residents in 2012,” said Uday Samant, Chairman of MHADA.
As the building collapsed it sent shock waves shaking adjacent buildings. As the residents complained about the shocks, rescue operators vacated the adjoining buildings as safety measures.
Local MLA Varis Pathan accused the authorities of neglecting the old dilapidated buildings.
“The building was about 100 years old. We had given permission to redevelop that area. We will know after investigation if the redevelopment initiative was delayed. Right now we are focusing on rescuing trapped people,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after the cabinet meeting.
Building safety is the most serious concern in the South Mumbai area where the concentration of old buildings is very high. According to statistics, while around 499 of such buildings have been declared “dangerous” only about 70 have been vacated and an even lesser number have been cleared for redevelopment.
Meanwhile, the name of the ill-fated Kausar Baug Building, which crashed on Tuesday killing at least two persons, is mysteriously omitted from a comprehensive list of 499 “dangerous” buildings prepared by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said an RTI activist.