Ulhas Nagar building collapse: 20-year-old woman’s body recovered, toll now 7

THE TOLL in the Ulhas Nagar building collapse incident, which took place on Friday, rose to seven with the recovery of a 20-years-old woman’s body from the debris on Friday midnight.

A portion of the five-storeyed Sai Siddhi building at Nehru Chowk, Ulhas Nagar, collapsed around 9.30 on Friday night. Seven people, who were rescued from under the debris, were declared dead.

The deceased have been identified as Puneet Bajomal Chandwani (17), Dinesh Bajomal Chandwani (40), Deepak Bajomal Chandwani (42), Mohini Bajomal Chandwani (65) – who were from the same family – and Krishna Inuchand Bajaj (24), Amrita Inuchand Bajaj (54) and Lovely Bajaj (20).

According to the building’s residents, there are total 29 flats in the building, which was constructed in 1995. The slabs of the living rooms of five flats – 104, 204, 304, 404 and 504 – caved in within a few seconds.

Hero Bagwani (35), who has been residing on the building’s third floor for past 23 years, said: “I was just a few meters away from the building when I heard a rumbling sound and felt vibrations. The drawing-room slabs from the top floor came crashing down. We were asked to vacate the building. We are staying at our relative’s place.”

A few reasons are there behind such incidents of building collapse in the city, said an Ulhas Nagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) official.

“First of all, these buildings were constructed between 1994 and 96, using Ulwa reti. Several illegal buildings were constructed at that time. Instead of the whole buildings, only portions like pillars and slabs of those buildings were demolished by the civic body. Later, a few developers and builders again reconstructed those demolished slabs and pillars by welding iron rods and recasting the slabs. Those portions are crashing down,” the official added.

The Ulhasnagar civic body has started urging people of getting the structural audit of their buildings done and submit the report to them or face legal action.

Yuvraj Bhadane, UMC public relations officer, said: “We are requesting people to get the structural audit of their buildings that are 10 years or more old and submit the reports to the civic body. If this is not followed, suitable action would be taken against the persons concerned.”

Eknath Shinde, Thane’s guardian minister, who visited the spot after the incident on Friday night, announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to kin of each deceased and also ordered the civic body to conduct an inquiry.

Shinde, who is also a senior leader of the Shiv Sena and cabinet minister of urban development and public works, directed the civic body to shift people from the dilapidated buildings, initiate an inquiry and take strict action against the builders, who are responsible for such incidents.

This is second such incident in the city this month wherein slabs caved in from the top floor of a building.

On May 15, five persons, including a 12-year-old, died after a slab of residential building Mohini Palace collapsed in Ulhasnagar camp.

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