Mumbai, April 5: Even as the death toll in the building collapse at Thane continued to rise with each passing hour, the Maharashtra government ordered an enquiry into the incident and placed two civic officials under suspension.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that the Additional Chief Secretary of the state will conduct the probe. The Deputy Municipal Commissioner in Thane has already been suspended for criminal negligence.
A total of 45 bodies have been recovered from the construction site so far. According to officials, the number of injured is well over 60. Reports say at least 11 children and five women died when the unauthorised building in the Shil Dhaigar locality collapsed all of a sudden.
Though several families had been living in it for the last four months, the seven-storey structure caved in around 6.30 p.m on Thursday. Several people were pulled out from the debris in the night.
On Friday morning, rescuers managed to save the lives of five children. They had remained trapped under rubble for more than 12 hours. Even more amazing was the survival of a 60-year-old woman who was extricated on Friday evening nearly 24 hours after the building collapsed.
Besides the chief minister, the state's Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and RR Patil who holds the Home portfolio visited the spot on Friday.
The local MLA rued that the municipal corporation had ignored his complaints about the illegal construction. Ramesh Patil said that he apprised Municipal Commissioner RA Rajeev several times that the building was unfit for occupation.
Municipal officials in turn blamed the builders, Salim and Jamil, for using construction material of poor quality. The duo had surprisingly obtained the necessary electricity and water connections despite the building not getting an occupancy certificate till date.
In order to prevent a similar mishap, residents of another building developed by Salim and Jamil were shifted to a safer place on Thursday night.
OneIndia News (with agency inputs)