Frantic relatives kept up a vigil at the Dockyard Road building collapse site on Saturday as the search for survivors grew bleak. Rescuers managed to find just one person alive during the day.
Till the time to going to the press, the death toll in the tragedy has gone up to 54.
The rescue operation was hampered on Saturday morning after a few spells of showers. “It did slow down the rescue operation in the morning. We were attempting to save most of the lives but our hope dimmed as the day passed. Still, seven-eight people are feared trapped under the debris,” said Alok Awasthy, commandant of National Disaster Management Force’s 5th battalion. Awasthy added that the rescue operation is in final stage and may get over around midnight.
Corporators across party lines on Saturday demanded stringent action against the guilty. They demanded that responsible IAS officers be sent back for the dereliction of duty. Corporators said Section 304A of the Indian Panel Code — which deals with culpable homicide — be slapped against all the concerned officials. Mayor Sunil Prabhu demanded that the BMC should pay Rs5 lakh as compensation to the kins of the deceased.
Additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas, in a statement in the House, said as per the prima-facie report, Babu Genu Municipal Market Building was under C2 A category. Srinivas said structural audit was carried out in November, 2012 by Pentacle Consultants and extensive repair works of the building were strongly recommended.
According to that audit, extensive repair, including jacketing, micro-concretisation, additional reinforcement, extensive propping were necessary. The mayor demanded a time-bound report of the inquiry. “Why there was a delay in the carrying out repairs of the structure even after the structural audit report suggested immediate repairs?”
Prabhu asked. “This is a blot. The BMC has committed an unpardonable offence,” said Yashwant Jadhav, Shiv Sena deputy leader.
Marathi journalist among dead
Yogesh Pawar (35), a reporter from a Marathi daily who was residing in the same building with his father, was found dead on Saturday evening. His father’s body was found yesterday.
Yogesh’s mother was in his native village along with her married sister and son-in-law when the tragedy took place.
His father was working in the water department of the BMC and was to retire in a year.
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