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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Five killed as factory collapses in Bhiwandi The one-storey structure was weak and the developers were adding another floor to it

 Awarehouse housing a garment factory collapsed in BhiwandiearlyonThursday, killing five and injuring 24 others. The single-storey ShreeArihantcomplexwaslocatedin an area with many garment factories. So far, 36 people have been rescued while six are feared trapped under the debris. Sources blamed unplanned illegal construction, on the already weak structure, for the collapse. 

Thegarmentfactory,BigGarment Exports, had been operating on the first floor of the 90,000 sq ft structure since 2011. The building was constructed by the Arihant Developers in 2004. 
On Wednesday afternoon, owner of the factory, Prem Panjabi had visit
ed to inform the workers that they had to finish an order by Thursday morning. All 45 of the workers, therefore, were working on a double shift. Around 12.35 am, the building started shaking and the electricity went off. Then suddenly the front part of the building came crashing down. 
    Around 15 people who were at the back at the time of collapse escaped, while the rest were stuck inside. Around one-and-a-half hours later, the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation and Thane Municipal Corporation started the rescue operation. 
    While the Fire department started the operation initially, National Disaster Response Force was also summoned, which took over at 3 am. 
    Teams of NDRF, Fire department and local police worked through the night to rescue people. Five people 
died, six are still missing and 10-12 sustained minor injuries. Four people, who were in a critical condition, were admitted to Thane civil hospital. Three among the deceased wereidentifiedasTajamulShaikhAnsari (28), Virendra Pandey and Munna Diwan. 
    Sources alleged the building was already weak, and the developer had startedaddinganewfloortoit.Thearea where the mishap took place falls under the Kalher Gram Panchayat. Sources in the panchayat said huge blocks of cement were lying on the second floor of the building, and incessantrainhadmountedpressureon the structure. They claimed they had issued notices to the developers regarding the same but they paid no heed to the warning. 
    "Initial investigation shows the building plan was improper. The pillars were weak, and the builder had 
constructed another unplanned pillar to help the structure stand," said DCP M K Bhosle from Bhiwandi. 
    Meanwhile,seniorcommanderof NDRF,SAAhmed,said,"Thebuilding started developing cracks at least at three places at the same time. As the structure is surrounded by other buildings on three sides, there was no way to access the people stuck inside. We had to climb the collapsed building vertically. The rescue operation could go on till Friday evening." 
    Six people— Arihant developers Sanjay and Hasmukh Dedia, contractors Munna and Mistry, architect of the building, and owner of the garment factory Prem Panjabi—have beenbookedbytheNarpolipoliceunder sections 337, 338, 304(A) and 427 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). They includenegligencecausingdeathand culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

NDRF personnel look for survivors after puncturing the collapsed roof

An injured being taken for treatment

The front portion of Big Garment Exports, Bhiwandi, collapsed around 12.30 am. There were 45 workers inside the unit at the time


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