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April 05, 2013

Building Collapse Kills At Least 41 in India

by Aru Pande

Authorities in western India say at least 41 people, including 11 children, have been killed after an illegally constructed building collapsed outside of the city of Mumbai.
 
Nearly 24 hours after the building came down, search and rescue teams remained at the scene Friday, pulling bodies from the rubble.
 
Several construction workers were among those killed and at least 50 people were injured in the collapse.
 
The seven-story building buckled late Thursday in the city of Thane in Maharashtra state.
 
Authorities say 28 families were living in the building, despite it being under construction and having no occupancy permit.
 
Thane Police Commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi told reporters Friday that the structure was weak and built without authorization. The builders, who have not yet been found, will be charged with culpable homicide.
 
He says, “police are conducting a thorough investigation and have filed a case against the builder and whoever else is responsible in the collapse.”

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Local officials and residents say the building went up in less than two months and was built on protected forest land.
 
Building collapses are not uncommon in India, where owners often do not obtain proper permits and use sub-standard material.
 
Vasant Davkhare is the deputy speaker of the state legislature. He says authorities “must take strict action to prevent such incidents in the future. 

“There are many unauthorized buildings in the area,” he said.
 
Members of India’s National Disaster Response Force remained at the scene of the collapse late Friday, using rescue dogs and heavy equipment to pull any remaining victims from the mangled steel and concrete.