Six killed in Mumbai building collapse
Many still trapped under the debris of 3-storey building in Mumbai
At least six persons were killed and several others injured after a three-storeyed building suddenly collapsed on Saturday afternoon in south Mumbai's Kamathipura area.
Fire brigade sources said several persons are believed to be trapped under the debris. Operations were immediately launched to rescue people under the collapsed structure.
According to civic sources, the building - which was being used for commercial purposes - was undergoing repairs prior to the onset of the monsoons. Surprisingly, besides a beer bar, a factory was also operating in the building.
Kamathipura is one of the oldest and largest red-light districts of India. A dozen lanes criss-cross the area and hundreds of three- and four-storeyed buildings dot the locality. In the early 1990s, about 50,000 sex workers used to operate in the locality, but the high cost of real estate in Mumbai has driven them out to far-flung suburbs and the figure in Kamathipura has fallen sharply since then.
Its strategic location, close to busy stations such as Grant Road and Byculla has seen real estate developers entering the area in recent years. Many of the old buildings have been demolished and replaced with high-rises. India's financial and commercial capital is home to several thousand old buildings, many of which are dilapidated. According to the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC), there are more than 700 dilapidated buildings, of which 100 are in a dangerous position and could collapse any time.
However, most of the tens of thousands of people living in these old structures are reluctant to move out as there are no alternatives. Most of these tenants pay rents that were fixed way back in the 1940s.
The landlords do not have the funds to repair the structures. Many developers acquire the buildings for redevelopment projects, but older residents accuse them of paying negligible compensation to move out.
It is virtually impossible to get even a small apartment for less than Rs10 million in Mumbai, so residents of old buildings refuse to move out. The government has built transit accommodation in the distant suburbs, the but the conditions there are appalling.
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