Mumbai relic kills 11 in sleep

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Mumbai
  • Published 23.08.05
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Mumbai, Aug. 23: A century-old, four-storey building collapsed in Mumbai in the small hours today, crushing to death at least 11 people, including seven women and a 12-year-old boy.

Some 37 people were pulled out of the rubble on a south-central Mumbai street and treated at the nearby JJ Hospital, with rescue workers saying more could be trapped inside.

Hospital authorities said 18 people were being treated for serious injuries, while the others had been allowed to go home.

The government announced a public works department probe into why the building hadn’t been marked unsafe during the municipality’s pre-monsoon survey.

Fire brigade personnel and a team of 145 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation workers were clearing the debris this evening in the congested Temkar Street in Nagpada, where Dawood Ibrahim cut his teeth in crime.

The front portion of Sadaf Manzil began to crumble around 1.30 am when most of the residents were asleep.

“As the building began to shake, many residents jumped towards the rear side,” said Anwar Ismail, a taxi driver whose relatives lived on the second floor.

Some residents managed to escape and some others, trapped in the rubble, proved extremely lucky.

Among them was a pregnant Sabina Sayyed and her two sons, aged two and three. Trapped for two hours, they emerged with minor injuries.

“We did a sonography on Sabina; the baby is safe,” her husband Sayyed said.

The building had last seen some repairs five years ago. Idris Qureshi, a resident, said: “We did not receive any notices from the municipality.”

“We have asked the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority to submit an interim report by this evening,” said chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who visited the site with cabinet colleagues in the morning.

He announced a public works department probe, too, and said: “Strict action will be taken against those responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the building.”

This is the city’s third major cave-in over the past two months. In June, the three-storey Pushpanjali Society in Khar in the city’s western suburbs crumbled, killing six people.

Last month, a portion of the heritage Esplanade Mansion came down, killing one and injuring six.

About 19,000 residential buildings in the city have been listed as “dangerous”, and are repaired annually.

Apart from this, the municipal corporation also conducts pre-monsoon surveys as a precaution.