The Chief Minister, who is personally monitoring the situation, asked Mr Mehta to focus on immediate medical assistance to the injured. Industries Minister Subhash Desai also visited the spot and briefed Mr Fadnavis. According to eyewitness accounts, a bigger catastrophe was averted as the building also housed a nursery-cum-playgroup, which has around 25 tiny tots and was scheduled to open at 1000 hrs, about two hours after the building collapsed.
A BMC bulletin at noon said the six-storeyed structure included an uninhabited godown on the ground floor and total 10 tenements. It added that the building -- a Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority cessed structure -- was part of the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust Redevelopment (SBUT) project. "The dangerous building was served evacuation notice in 2011 and the occupants ordered to vacate it to make way for the SBUT redevelopment project, but they failed to heed the warnings," said a BMC official. According to the sources in Fire Brigade, the two wings of the building had completely collapsed.
A 90-man squad of the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Management, a 150-strong team of Fire Brigade personnel and workers, two sniffer dog squads, electronic gadgetry along with five fire engines, two JCBs and one poclain crane were deployed to trace the people buried under the rubble. The building was situated in a heavily congested locality of south Mumbai’s 'C' Ward, near J J Hospital, and rescue teams, their large vehicles and heavy equipment faced a tough time approaching the crash site.
In the meantime, local residents, mainly Dawoodi-Bohra community members, and others initiated their own rescue efforts, moving the rubble with their hands to help the victims. The injured are being treated in the government run J J Hospital, while the rescue operation is still going on. According to a UNI report from Pune, quoting the weather office, heavy rain is very likely to occur during the next 24 hours at isolated places in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Gangetic West Bengal, west Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, east Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Kutch, Rayalaseema and Tamil Nadu. (UNI)