The toll in the building collapse in Raigad district of Maharashtra rose to 13 on Tuesday evening, NDTV reported. Several individuals are still missing, while 60 people have been rescued. Among those rescued is a four-year-old boy.
The operation to rescue those trapped and remove the bodies of the deceased has been going on for the last 20 hours. The rescuers retrieved seven bodies in two hours early in the evening.
The National Disaster Response Force was called in on Monday to join the rescue operations. The force’s Director General Satya Pradhan said that sniffer dogs were assisting rescuers with the operation. Twelve teams of the fire brigade are also at the spot. The five-storey building, which was over 10 years old, had at least 45 flats.
The Tarek Garden building in Raigad’s Mahad tehsil area collapsed around 7 pm on Monday, an unidentified official from the State Disaster Management Unit said.
The police have filed a case against the building’s architect and contractor, Yunus Sheikh. “The contractor is responsible for the disaster and a case has been registered against him,” Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde said. “Also, if any government officials are involved in this, strict action will be taken against them.”
Hospitals in Raigad’s neighbouring areas have been put on alert. A medical camp is also being set up for the injured people.
Maharashtra minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the state government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of every deceased person, ANI reported. “Financial assistance of upto Rs 50,000 will be provided to those injured in the incident,” he added.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday assured the district administration of all possible help. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, meanwhile, said that the building collapse was “very tragic” and added that he had personally spoken to NDRF director-general to expedite the rescue operation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed grief about the tragedy. “Saddened by the building collapse in Mahad, Raigad in Maharashtra,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted. “My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their dear ones. I pray the injured recover soon. Local authorities and NDRF teams are at the site of the tragedy, providing all possible assistance.”