MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government will conduct an inquiry into the Bhendi Bazaar building collapse in which at least 16 people lost their lives, state minister Subhash Desai announced today.
The five-storey building, located at Pakmodia street near JJ Hospital, with 12 rooms and six warehouses on the ground floor, crumbled at around 8.30 am today.
"Our priority is to pull out at the earliest those trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building. Once the rescue work gets over, the government will conduct a probe to ascertain the factors behind the building collapse. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty," the industries minister, who is also the guardian minister for Mumbai, told reporters here.
He said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will chair a meeting to chalk out an action plan to rehabilitate those living in dilapidated buildings.
This particular building was already marked for redevelopment as it was dilapidated. A meeting will soon be held with the chief minister and an action plan will be prepared to rehabilitate those residing in such structures so that these incidents do not occur again, Desai said.
At least 12 people were killed and 15 injured when the residential building caved in this morning. About 25 people are feared trapped in the debris.
The incident occurred two days after heavy rains that brought the city to a halt and may have caused damage to the structure.
After visiting the spot, Minister of State for Housing Ravindra Waikar said an inquiry will be conducted into the No Objection Certificates granted for redevelopment to all the cessed buildings in the city.
In cessed buildings, the tax is paid by the tenants and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Act, 1976 (MHADA) makes special provisions for their repair and reconstruction.
"An inquiry will be conducted not only about this building, but also into the NOCs granted for redevelopment to all the cessed buildings, so that we can have an idea of the progress made in this direction," Waikar said.
He said the collapsed structure was one of the 380 buildings that had been granted the NOCs for redevelopment.
"We will probe how the developer concerned failed to redevelop the project when it was granted the NOC way back in 2011. This is the time to provide rescue and relief to the victims and their aggrieved relatives. Later, we will fix responsibility," he said.
The Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), run by the Bohra community, was granted the rights to redevelop the cluster of old buildings in congested Bhendi Bazar.