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Monday, December 3, 2012

2 killed in Kamala Mills bldg crash

Mumbai: Two floors of the three-storeyed Victoria House at Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel that houses offices of the Jindal Group caved in during the busy morning hours on Monday, crushing two persons to death and injuring six. All the casualties are Jindal employees. 
    Civic officials suspect major portions of the floors collapsed due to unauthorized renovation on the ground floor that affected the structure of the century-old building. The walls and the outer shell of Victoria House are intact. 

    Amruta Shukla (29) and Manoj Shukla (44), who were working on the first floor, were killed once the second floor fell on them. Six others were rescued, but the two were declared dead on arrival in hospital. Amrita was employed with the group's Pen office and had come to complete some paper work at the Pandurang Budhkar Marg office. 
JSW, others booked for collapse deaths 
Renovation Not Ours: Jindal Steel 

Mumbai: Police have booked two contractors, JSW Steel and another company for negligence after two floors of the three-storey Victoria House in Lower Parel collapsed on Monday, killing two Jindal employees. They have been booked under several IPC sections dealing with death caused by negligence for sending workers into the building despite knowing that it was unsafe, said N M Joshi Marg senior inspector Sudhakar Ghagare. 
    Internal repair/alteration works had been going on in the building for the last few days. Huge cracks were noticed in the portion that collapsed a few days ago and the employees who were occupying that place had relocated to other parts of the office, said some eyewitnesses. 
    "There were cracks in the building and we had marked some portion near the walls as dangerous. We had even instructed our employees not to enter that area. In the morning, some sound and dust started coming from the walls. As we were asking employees to move out, the entire floor fell down," said Pushkaraj Kole from JSW Steel. 
    The ground-plus-two-storey Victoria House constructed in 1897 was acquired by JSW Steel in 2005. The company converted part of it into their offices and had been leasing out the other sections. Incidentally, the building housed a media office backed by the Zee group till they moved about two months ago. 
    JSW Steel has said the renovation work on the ground floor was not being carried out by them. "This event appeared to have happened due to certain modifications being done in the ground floor which does not belong to the JSW Group," said the steel
maker in a statement. 
    The group has offices on the first and second floors and a small reception area on the ground floor. A major part of the second floor came crashing down between 11 and 11.10am, trapping several people under the debris. Within a few seconds, the first floor caved in under the weight of the second floor. 
    There were over 50 people in the building when the incident occurred, but most of them managed to run out as soon as the second floor caved in. Six persons — Hiral Dave (35), Aniruddha Patil (37), Prakash Nambi (34), Rajiv Jain (46), Santan Paniker (60) and Suraj Dhandaniya (41) — were injured and pulled out from under debris by the fire brigade. Three suffered fractures and one a head injury. Acting dean of KEM Hospital Dr Preeti Mehta said the patients are stable. 

    KEM Hospital sources said the two deceased — Amruta Shukla and Manoj Shukla (not related) — had suffered multiple injuries. Khargar resident Manoj, who worked in the company's sales tax department, was apparently busy discussing work when the floors collapsed. He is survived by his wife and two children. 
    The rescue operations went on for over four hours as the fire brigade faced problems due to lack of space. "We have cleared the debris. The office had steel furniture and many metal frames. We had to use metal cutters to remove the debris," said a fire official. 
    For two hours after the collapse, traffic police closed the adjoining south-bound carriageway of Pandurang Budhkar Marg for rescue operations. The lane was made available to motorists by 2 pm on Monday. 

Around 11am, a major portion of the 2nd floor of the three-storey Victoria House caves in on the first floor (above), trapping at least 8 people. Two die, six rescued 
    Around 30 people are on the 2nd floor at that time, most of them manage to run out 
    In a few seconds, a large part of the first floor collapses under the weight of the debris. There are over 20 people on the floor who flee unhurt

The walls of Victoria House in Lower Parel stand intact after the cave-in


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