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7 killed in garment factory collapse in Bhiwandi, Mumbai

5 July, 2013A two-storey building that housed a Garment factory collapsed in the early hours of Thursday, 4 July. The “godown” or warehouse was located in Arihant Compound, Kalher village in the Bhiwandi area of Thane District, Mumbai.

The incident occurred when around 45 workers were working during the night shift, killing 7, 15 are injured and 4 are still trapped.  Rescued workers claimed that the building started shaking at 2 o’ clock and crumbling down shortly thereafter.

During the incident, workers were working on the ground floor of the godown. “The building was still under construction. The third floor was being built illegally. This might have been the reason for the building collapse,” said Santosh Kadam, Head, Disaster Management Cell, Thane Municipal Corporation.

Satyapal Singh, Police Commissioner, Mumbai admitted that the building was illegal and unauthorized construction was going on. M K Bhosale, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bhiwandi Police Station, apprised that a FIR has been filed against the building’s owner, Sanjay Dadhia, and the engineer for illegally raising the floor.

Police lodged a case under section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the Inspector Ramesh Patil at the Narpoli Police station, “All those rescued are from a company called Big Garment, which was set up in the building one and half year ago. Big Garment could not immediately reach for comment”. The building was extended at the time of collapse. Pillars were being constructed in the building to add a new floor, Mr. Patil added.

The garment factory had employed many migrant workers, mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who used to work in shifts. Some also reportedly used to live in the same building. As of now only three deceased workers are identified as Munna Vazur Diwan (25), Sheikh Tajmul and Virendra Pandey (45).

The injured have been taken to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital Bhiwandi. Out of 15 injured, nine people were discharged while rest are undergoing treatment. Rescue work is still going on. Top officials including District Collector P Velrasu, Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNMC) commissioner Achyut Hange, Thane police commissioner K P Raghuvanshi are supervising the relief and rescue operations at the spot.

This is fourth building collapse in a span of two months in Mumbai and surrounding areas. Although the other deaths occurred in collapses of residential buildings.