A 29-year-old man died while seven others were severely injured after the ceiling slabs of multiple flats collapsed in an eight-storied building in Nerul, Navi Mumbai, on Saturday. The injured have been admitted to Dr D Y Patil Hospital in Nerul and their condition is said to be stable.
The deceased has been identified as Venkatesh Nadar while those injured are Nisha Dharmani, 48, Riya Dharmani, 20, Sonali Godbole, 29, Adityaraj Godbole, 15, Soumitra Godbole, 50, Lalita Tyagarajan, 80 and Subramanyam Tyagarajan, 84.
The incident took place around 12.30pm at Jimmy Park 1 Society, Sector 17, in the Nerul node of Navi Mumbai.
According to Vivek Pansare, DCP, Zone 1 of Navi Mumbai Police, the process of registering an FIR against the contractor carrying out work on the sixth floor was underway.
Last year, a ceiling fall incident had been reported in the same building and the civic body had directed the society to carry out a structural audit. “The building was on the list of the dilapidated dangerous buildings of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and the civic body had issued a notice under section 264 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act on May 18 and directed the society to carry out a structural audit of the building. However, the society ignored the civic body’s notice,” said Municipal Commissioner Abhijit Bangar.
According to the civic body, there was drilling work underway to lay new tiles in the sixth floor of the building’s A-wing when suddenly, the ceiling collapsed, setting off a chain reaction and causing the ceilings of the lower floors to collapse in succession, until the ground floor.
Residents said that they heard a huge sound and the whole building shook. A resident on the seventh floor, Vimal Gupta, said that she heard a huge sound and there was dust all around. When she came down to the sixth floor, she saw that the ceilings of all the lower floors had collapsed. Other residents too shared a similar experience. Jay Narayan who resides in an adjoining society, said that there was dust all around after a huge sound.
The ceiling of the halls and bedrooms on all floors, from the sixth to the first, collapsed and a total of eight persons were trapped in the debris. One person on the fifth floor died while others were rescued by the fire brigade. A fire brigade officer said that grilles had to be cut through in order to rescue people in their kitchen balconies.
There are two wings and two lanes of rowhouses in Jimmy Park. According to the NMMC, the building was given an occupation certificate in 1994. While talking to the media, the civic chief said that a committee would be formed to investigate the matter and the guilty would be punished. Meanwhile, the civic body has evacuated the building and made arrangements for the temporary accommodation of displaced residents at the Samaj Mandir Hall in Sector 9 in Nerul.
Narrow escape for 7th-floor residents
Vimal Gupta, who lives on the seventh floor in the A-wing of Jimmy Park, said that she was shocked to see all the floors cave in. The day before, she was in Mumbai, seeing off her son and daughter-in-law, who were going abroad for work. She was accompanied by her elder sister who was visiting from Lucknow. “We were visiting places in Mumbai and on Saturday, we returned to our Nerul home around 11am and the incident happened around 12.30pm. It was a narrow escape for us,” said Gupta.