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Death toll in Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar building collapse rises to 34

Death toll in Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar building collapse rises to 34
Death toll in Mumbai's Bhendi Bazaar building collapse rises to 34

The deceased include 24 men, nine women and a 20-day-old child

A day after the horrific incident, the death toll in the Mumbai building collapse has risen to 34 with 10 more bodies being pulled out from the debris since late last night.

The 117-year-old building in the congested Bhendi Bazaar area in south Mumbai came crashing down yesterday morning, two days after torrential rain brought the maximum city to its knees.

According to a senior police official, around 15 people injured in the collapse are undergoing treatment at the state-run J J Hospital.

The dead include 24 men, nine women and a 20-day-old child.

The search operation by personnel of fire brigade, NDRF and the Mumbai civic body was on a war footing as they pulled out 10 bodies from under the rubble since last night.

Located in the congested Muslim-dominated Pakmodia Street, the dilapidated Husaini Building housed several families and godowns. It also housed a play school but children had not arrived yet when the tragedy occurred.

According to fire brigade officials, some nine families lived in the five-storey building. The officials said that efforts were underway to rescue more people who might be trapped in the debris.

The tragedy struck barely two days after torrential rain brought the city to its knees, crippling road, rail and air services, destroying homes and leaving at least ten people dead. Many suspect that the downpour likely affected the structure, causing its crash.

Some residents claimed that about 40 people belonging to nine families lived in crammed rooms in the structure, which was declared “unsafe” by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).

The Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), which was to have undertaken redevelopment of the old structure, said the building housed a total of 13 tenants — 12 residential and one commercial.

“Of them, the trust had already shifted seven families in 2013-14,” it said in a statement.

“MHADA notices dated March 28 and May 20, 2011, declaring the building dilapidated, were issued along with an offer of transit accommodation to the remaining tenants and occupants,” it said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday visited the spot and announced a solatium of Rs five lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased. He also said that the entire medical expenses of those injured will be borne by the state government.

This was the second major building collapse in the city in just over a month, after the crash of a residential complex in suburban Ghatkopar on July 25, which left 17 people dead.

With agency inputs

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