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India Deadly Building Collapse Near Mumbai

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India building collapse near Mumbai kills 40


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-22036751 with video

At least 40 people have died, including 11 children, after a building under construction collapsed near the Indian city of Mumbai, police say.

Dozens have been injured and many others are feared trapped beneath the seven-storey building in Thane.

Police said the block was an illegal construction and building work was going on even though four floors were already occupied.

Building collapses are common with poor construction practices often blamed.

The BBC's Sameer Hashmi, who is at the scene of the accident, says rescue workers are still trying to clear the debris.
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Analysis
Sameer Hashmi Mumbai business reporter

The building collapse underlines the issue of illegal construction in India.

Police say the builder of the high rise used sub-standard construction material and did not possess an occupation certificate.

There are hundreds of similar illegal high rises in the Mumbai region. Due to a high population growth, there is always demand for cheap housing. And homes in illegal buildings sell at a lower price compared to those in legal ones.

Activists also allege that unscrupulous builders often pay hefty bribes to authorities who turn a blind eye to these illegal structures and do not take any action against the builders.

Bodies are still being pulled out and rescuers say they fear that many people are still stuck under the rubble, our correspondent says.

Most people living in the building are from the low-to-middle income groups, he adds.

Witnesses say the construction of the building started just six weeks ago and in that time, seven floors were built rapidly and the eighth floor was under construction.

Even though the construction was incomplete, the builder had allowed families to move in, our correspondent adds.

On Thursday evening a section of the building collapsed, bringing the entire structure down, police said.

Rescue efforts continued throughout the night and dozens have been injured.
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India's deadly collapses

19 Dec 2012: 13 die in Wagholi, Maharashtra
24 Sept 2012: 6 die in Pune, Maharashtra
15 April 2012: 23 workers killed in blanket factory collapse in Jalandhar
16 Nov 2010: 69 killed and more than 80 injured in Delhi
18 Aug 2010: School building collapse kills 18 children in Uttarakhand
26 Jan 2010: 23 killed in Bellary, Karnataka
23 Sept 2009: Chimney of a power plant in Chhattisgarh caves in, 40 killed
13 Aug 2008: 20 die in Mumbai
18 July 2007: 29 killed in Mumbai

In pictures: Mumbai building collapse

It is not yet clear what caused the collapse, but police inspector Digamber Jangale told the BBC it appeared to be due to the use of substandard building material.

Police said a case had been registered and an inquiry had begun and that they were searching for the builders to arrest them.

One witness, named only as Ramlal, said the building appeared to tilt before quickly collapsing.

"The building collapsed like a pack of cards within three to four seconds," he said.

In December, at least 13 people died when part of a half-constructed building collapsed in the Wagholi area of Maharashtra.

Last September, at least six people were killed when a building collapsed in Pune city in Maharashtra.
 

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