13 killed in building collapse

In what is seen as a huge embarrassment for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), its own multi-storeyed building, which housed its own employees, collapsed like a pack of cards on Friday morning at Dockyard Road. Thirteen people died while 45 have been injured, as the rescue operations were still underway till late evening. There are fears that death toll could be higher as more people are trapped in the debris.
The Babu Genu BMC building collapsed at 6 am when most of the residents were still asleep. Incidentally, the 32-year old building was not included in the list of dilapidated buildings announced by the BMC before the monsoon. However, the ground plus four-storey construction was categorised as C2 structure, which needs urgent repairs. The notice was issued to residents to vacate the building, said civic officials.
According to the civic officials, the unauthorised internal structural changes was one of the main reasons for the building collapse. The BMC has filed a police complaint against Ashokkumar J. Mehta of Ms Mamamiya Developers Pvt Ltd for carrying out such structural changes.
However, the collapse of a civic building, which was not declared dangerous, has raised several questions about BMC’s pre-monsoon survey.
Social activist Anil Galgali said, “Inspection of buildings is not done properly by civic officials due to which such mishaps are occurring. The BMC should take strict action against such officials.”
Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte, who visited the site in the morning and inspected the rescue operations, said the repair process of the building was on. “Officials of the civic planning and development department had visited the building and prepared estimates for its repairs. A consultant was also appointed for this,” he said.
According to the civic officials, the ill-fated building, which was constructed in 1980, belonged to the civic markets department. There were 28 families living in the building, while six tenements were vacant.

Mayor Sunil Prabhu has announced an immediate financial aid of `2 lakh to the kin of deceased. In addition to this, the medical expenses of all the injured people will be borne by the BMC, he said.
“The BMC has formed a committee to probe the causes behind the collapse of the building. The report will be submitted on Saturday. Based on its findings, action will be taken against the guilty officials in this case,” the mayor said.

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