Thane: The death toll in the Bhiwandi building collapse in Maharashtra rose to 25 on Tuesday, with the recovery of a dozen more bodies overnight, police said.
The number of those rescued has gone up to 25, with five more persons being pulled alive out from the debris since Monday night, police said.
The dead include 11 children, aged between two to 15 years, an official said. Those rescued are being treated at hospitals in Bhiwandi and Thane, he added.
Search and rescue personnel is still at the site, trying to pull out a few more persons still feared trapped, he said.
The 43-year-old Jilani building collapsed at 3.40 am on Monday.
Two civic officials have been suspended in connection with the collapse and an offense has been registered against the building owner, an official said.
The building in the powerloom town – which is around 10 km from Thane – had 40 flats and around 150 persons lived there, an official said.
The building, located at Napoli’s Patel Compound near Dhamankar Naka, collapsed while the residents were asleep.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and personnel of the Thane Disaster Response Force (TDRF) are still at the spot as the search operation continues, he said.
The building was not in the list of dilapidated structures of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation (BNMC), he said.
Bhiwandi DCP Rajkumar Shinde said offenses under sections 337,338,304 (2)of the IPC were registered against the owner of the building Sayyed Ahmed Jilani after a complaint by civic officials.
The BNMC suspended two senior officials in connection with the building collapse. An inquiry committee has also been set up and will include the assistant town planner, he said.
Meanwhile, a building resident said most residents of the building were tenants and included autorickshaw drivers, vendors, and laborers.
A civic official said 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 was very low.
Maharashtra rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the issue of unauthorized and dangerous buildings in Bhiwandi was a serious one and it will be discussed in the state cabinet.
The minister, who visited the collapse site on Tuesday, told reporters that a decision would be taken about sanctioning of additional FSI and other measures for the rehabilitation of affected persons.
The action would be taken against those responsible for the collapse, he said.
Each factor that may have caused the collapse, including weakening of the building’s foundation because of power looms operating on its ground floor and the drainage system of the structure, will be probed into, he said.