Timely evacuation helps avert tragedy in Ulhasnagar

Kalyan: A day after Mahak building in Ulhasnagar tilted, necessitating the evacuation of 150 people on Monday, the structure collapsed. The Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) forestalled what could have been a massive disaster, with its timely action.

The fire department said no casualties and injuries were reported when the building collapsed like a house of cards around 10am on Tuesday. Located on Link Road in Ulhasnagar, the five-storied building, with 31 flats had been evacuated on the previous day, by civic authorities.

The collapse of the A-wing of Mahak caused damage to some flats in its B-wing and some of its columns had begun leaning, locals said. Residents of this and two other buildings in the vicinity, Mangalam and Dharam Palace Apartments too were evacuated, said civic officials.

In all, around 500 residents were moved out of these structures to safe grounds. Mangalam housed 150 people, while Mahak B-wing and Dharam Palace were home to 100 residents each.

What is causing concern the numerous gas cylinders in the debris. The odour of LPG hangs in the air. Cooling operations are being carried out by firefighters.

Dr Yuvraj Bhadane, deputy commissioner and Public relations officer of UMC said, "We received information around 9am from locals that a column of the building had sunk by 3-4 feet.

We promptly informed the civic commissioner, police and fire departments and rushed to spot. Immediately, we evacuated residents from the three buildings in the vicinity."

Ramesh Dudhiya, a resident of Mahak building said, "I run an electrical shop at Ulhasnagar and there are five others in my family. Al of a sudden, we are homeless. Our belongings, documents, clothes and other necessities are trapped in the debris".

Narendra Kumar, the local corporator of Ulhasnagar said, "A resident of the A-wing of Mahak went to see the condition of the building around 8.30am.

He observed that the four columns of the building had sunk 3- 4 feet in the ground. He immediately, informed me. I then alerted UMC officials and the fire brigade". To avert tragedy, officials stopped pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area.

Sanjay Lulla, 32, a resident of Mahak's A wing said, "Some people were trapped inside their flats as the doors jammed on Monday. The civic body rescued them but did not give them accommodation.

All 31families are homeless. The government should give permission to our city's pending demand of an FSI of 4 so that such buildings can be redeveloped."

Sudhakar Deshmukh, commissioner, UMC said, "We will inspect the condition of the B-wing of Mahak. It may be that the column of Mahak suffered internal damage after the A-wing collapsed.

Our civic officials and fire brigade team will remove the debris on Wednesady because at least 31-40 gas cylinders may be trapped within."