The toll in the Bhiwandi building collapse in Maharashtra rose to 22 on Tuesday, after more bodies were recovered from the wreckage overnight, ANI reported citing the municipal corporation. At least esight children are among those who died in the accident.
Two civic officials were suspended in connection with the collapse and a case was filed against the building owner. Bhiwandi District Commissioner of Police Rajkumar Shinde said the owner, identified as Sayyed Jilani, was charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, based on a complaint by civic officials. Jilani is yet to be arrested, he added.
An inquiry committee was also set up to look into the accident. The panel will include the assistant town planner of Bhiwandi, Shinde said.
The police said the authorities have managed to rescue 23 people trapped under the debris so far. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force and personnel of the Thane Disaster Response Force are leading the rescue operation.
The 43-year-old building, which had 40 flats, collapsed on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday while many of the residents were asleep. But it was not immediately clear what caused the apartment building to collapse. The apartment complex, located at Narpoli’s Patel Compound near Dhamankar Naka, was not in the list of dilapidated structures of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation, according to the civic body.
An unidentified civic official told PTI that the building was served two notices – one in 2019 and another in February – over alleged irregularities, but the residents did not leave as the rent there was very low.
The Maharashtra government on Monday announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the relatives of each of the deceased. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the building collapse and said all possible assistance was being provided to the affected.