A 61-year-old man was declared dead after a ground-plus-four building collapsed in Kalbadevi area of south Mumbai on Sunday. The incident was reported at 10.35pm, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) disaster management cell said.
The building, which was around 100 years old, was declared dilapidated by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada). The authority, which owned the structure, had also issued a notice to the tenants to vacate the building. However, the tenants did not move out. According to Mhada officials, after the toilet on the ground floor developed cracks, the building tilted, following which around 20 tenants of the building vacated the structure on Sunday around 5.30pm.
According to Mhada officials, around 10pm, the dilapidated Khanderaowadi Building Number 5 came down crashing down on a passerby who was talking on phone. The man, identified as Sundara Saw, was rushed to Sir JJ Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.
Local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator Aakash Raj Purohit said a major tragedy was averted as the building was evacuated in evening.
“After a part of the toilet collapsed, the fire brigade and police were called. There were around 20 people inside the building and all of them were evacuated by the fire brigade. Also, one family from a nearby building was moved as a safety measure,” Purohit said.
While he claimed that Khanderao Building Number 5 was around 50 years old, Mhada has maintained that the structure is close to around 100 years old.
“The entire building was occupied by commercial labourers who do gold polishing and make jewellery,” Purohit added.
However, Mhada said that of the 20 tenants, only one was officially commercial, and the rest were residential tenants.
Arun Dongre, chief of Mhada’s repair board, said, “The building was around 100 years old and had 20 tenants of which one was a commercial tenant. Thankfully, we had evacuated all those inside the building around four hours before the collapse, averting a major incident. Another nearby building, which is also a ground-plus-four structure, has also been vacated and residents in other neighbouring buildings will also be evacuated, if required.”
Meanwhile, there are over 14,000 dilapidated buildings in the city, of which a majority are in south Mumbai. Every year, a pre-monsoon structural audit is conducted by both BMC and Mhada. Earlier, this week Mhada had said that it has issued notices to 21 ‘extremely dangerous buildings’ in south Mumbai. Around 717 tenants in these 21 buildings have been asked to vacate their buildings on an immediate basis. Those who vacate their buildings are accommodated in transit camps on a temporary basis.
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