Building Falls a Day After It’s Evacuated
Ulhasnagar: In a miraculous escape for over 100 residents, a five-storey Ulhasnagar building crashed a day after all its 31 flats were evacuated. On Monday, residents of Mahak Apartment’s A Wing noticed their building had begun to sink after cracks developed suddenly and their doors got jammed. Mahak Apartment, constructed in 1995, was not on the list of dangerously dilapidated buildings compiled by Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation. But the signs manifested on Monday prompted residents to swiftly seek help from municipal authorities. A civic team broke open the doors and escorted residents out safely. The structure was barely three decades old, but, like several other buildings in the locality erected in the 1990’s, was built using inferior quality Ulwa sand, said civic sources. Now there are fears that adjoining buildings too may collapse. Last July, a portion of the Murliwala Apartment in the locality had crashed, killing one person. Following Tuesday’s crash, as a precautionary move, UMC has evacuated three neighbouring buildings with over 500 residents, including the fallen Mahak Apartment’s B Wing. Locals said the B Wing has already begun to sink. The other two buildings are Mangalam Apartment and Dharam Palace. “We evacuated three buildings near Mahak Apartment after it collapsed,” said Ganesh Shimpi, assistant civic commissioner, UMC. The three buildings had 78 flats in all. Mahak Apartment’s B Wing has 22 flats, Mangalam Apartment 30 and Dharam Palace 26. “We have called in a structural engineer who will audit all three buildings to find out if they are safe,” said Shimpi.
Until the audit’s results are known, residents will have to find alternate accommodation, plunging 500 families into uncertainty. The chain of events on Tuesday unravelled with Mahak a Wing resident Veerumal Talreja, who had moved out on Monday, finding the structure had sunk four meters into the ground. Talreja called up former corporator Narendra Thakur alias Kumari, who alerted the fire brigade and civic staff. They rushed to the site and, fearing the building would collapse on the adjacent B Wing, made its residents to evacuate without losing time. Eventually, around 10.08am, the A Wing collapsed and its debris fell on B Wing. Several gas cylinders began to leak inside the debris and firemen had to use water to avoid fire or explosion. UMC then vacated the other two buildings as well. After the Murliwala Apartment crash, UMC had urged residents to conduct structural audits. So far, 50 buildings have done so. On Tuesday, UMC renewed the appeal. Yuvraj Bhadane, deputy municipal commissioner, UMC, said, “We want to appeal to residents of 20-yearold buildings to get structural audit done. In case of any eventuality, the UMC will be not responsible”. In some cases, residents may be hesitant to conduct such audits as many buildings are illegal and were constructed using extra FSI. They have thus not gone in for redevelopment either. BJP national spokesperson Shweta Shalini, who visited the site, said she will raise the issue about Development Control rules with the state government so that such buildings can be redeveloped.
Andhra Pradesh on High Alert as Flood Threat Looms over 3 Districts
With water level reaching its full capacity, Nagarjunasagar turned into tourist hotspot on Tuesday.
Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh government has sounded a flood alert as Krishna river has been receiving heavy inflows from Karnataka and Maharashtra following torrential rains in the two states. Krishna, Guntur and Kurnool have been put on high alert to tackle the situation as several villages along the river bank are facing the threat of submergence if the water level continues to rise. Authorities in Kurnool and Vijayawada cities are also on alert following rising water levels in Tungabhadra and Krishna. Backwaters from Srisailam have also entered parts of Kurnool town triggering panic among the locals. Meanwhile, four people, including three children, were washed away in the Penna River near Kamalapuram in Kadapa district on Tuesday. While rescue teams fished out the body of Jaffer Hussain (45), the three children are yet to be traced.
Women Guard Basti No. 17 as Men Flee Home to Avoid Arrest
Kolkata: Scores of households at the Chetla slum don’t have any male members now with most of the youths and teenagers fleeing the area on Tuesday fearing arrest in connection with the assault on cops at Tollygunge police station in the wee hours of Monday. A group of women remained posted at the slum entrance to maintain vigil for a better part of the day as cops raided the slum multiple times since the wee hours of Tuesday and arrested 4 persons. A mob of around 60 from the Chetla slum descended on Tollygunge police station on Monday and thrashed cops for two and a half hours to protest against the detention of three persons for drunken rowdyism near Menoka cinema off Southern Avenue earlier on Sunday evening. According to residents of the Matalibagan slum, located near No. 17 bus stand in the interiors of Chetla, cops had entered the slum around 2am on Tuesday and picked up Deepak Adhikari and Chhotka Dolui both rickshaw pullers. The officers returned in the morning armed with CCTV grabs, which showed faces of two youths from the slum Akash and Gullu but were refused entry by a group of women led by Putul Naskar. The cops had to back off.
Around 2.30pm, a team of officers with a dozen women police personnel from Lalbazar reached the slum again and arrested Naskar and Pratima Das when they tried to resist them from entering the slum. Both of them were actively involved in the assault on Monday and were caught on CCTV footage and television cameras thrashing an officer. “Police came to my house and questioned me about my husband and brother. My husband and son had gone there to see what was happening and was hit by the cops. My brother has left home in fear,” said Manasi Sinha, a resident of the slum. Jharna Halder, mother of Ranajoy — who was among the three youths detained for the drunken rowdyism on Sunday evening and later freed by the slum dwellers — said her son and his friends had fled the area. “My son is innocent. But the way cops are portraying him like a dreaded criminal has made me wonder what will happen to him if he’s arrested. I don’t know where he has gone,” said Halder. Neighbours and relatives said Ranajoy was arrested only two weeks ago in a Naka patrol where he was caught speeding without a helmet in a drunken state.
He was later released following payment of fine. “It’s true that he drinks a lot but he is not a criminal. When we learnt an innocent youth like Ranajoy was arrested on Sunday, all of us went there in his support,” said Pinki Mondal, his sister. The residents, however, identified Naskar, a woman in his 50s, as a local tough and the brain behind the police station rampage. Cops and locals said Naskar used to run an illegal hooch den earlier in the area and is also involved in a number of illegal constructions around Tolly Nallah. Locals said she also enjoyed blessings of local Trinamool leaders. “She is the leader of the slum. She was the one who had asked all of us to head towards the police station, around 2 km from the slum,” said a resident. An hour before the arrest, when TOI had caught up with Naskar, who was leading the vigil outside the slum, she had identified herself as an ayah but admitted to have been involved in the case. “Ranajoy is my distant relative. He had called me from the police station claiming he was being beaten up by cops and falsely charged in a case. So, we had gone there, made the cops understand and they even released him. But some cops then started beating us. We retaliated,” she said.