MUMBAI: Three of a family were among the five people who died after a portion of a British era Mhada cessed building collapsed in Fort on Thursday evening. While three people suffered serious injuries, 15 others were rescued from under the debris of the ground-plus-five-storey Bhanushali building on Mint Road, near the GPO in south Mumbai.

At the time of going to press, firemen and a National Disaster Response Force team were looking for two missing people using search cameras and machinery to lift the heavy debris, but locals claimed that more people could be trapped inside. CM Uddhav Thackeray and BMC chief I S Chahal also reached the spot.
The deceased were Kusum Gupta (45), Jotsna Gupta (50), and Padmalal Gupta (50) and two unidentified women aged 50 and 35. The injured, Bhalchandra Kandu (48), Shailesh Kandu (17) and Neha Gupta (21), are in hospital.
Locals said that the landlord, Mhada and tenants had decided to repair the dilapidated structure earlier this year as plaster was falling and a few parapets were missing, but the plan got delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bhanushali building has 40 residential and commercial premises of which 12 were reduced to rubble. Mhada will now decide whether to pull down the structure entirely or repair it. Located opposite Bhanushali building was Kothari Mansion, a century-old building that had caught fire in 2018 and had partly collapsed. Later the structure was pulled down as it was declared ‘dangerous’. There are several such British-era buildings in the vicinity that need repairs.
A local said after heavy showers began on Wednesday, the residents had called the landlord and asked him to expedite repairs. Rakesh Jain, who owns a shop in Bhanushali building, told TOI: “Around noon, the building started shaking and some residents rushed out before part of it collapsed. But many got trapped inside. We could not redevelop the building as we are surrounded by heritage buildings, so we had opted for repairs, but the plan got delayed due to Covid-19 lockdown.”

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