A day after a multi-storey building collapsed in India’s Maharashtra State, the number of dead has swelled to eight while at least 15 are still missing, rescue officials said on Tuesday. However, differing local media reports on Tuesday evening suggested the toll has reached up to 11.
The rescue operation has been ongoing for the last 20 hours. Three teams of the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and 12 fire station teams are involved in the operation.
Talking to Sputnik, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officials confirmed the deaths of eight people. Over 60 people have been rescued, they added.
The incident occurred in the evening in Mahad city, 160 km from Mumbai.
Police have registered a case against Yunus Shaikh, the building’s contractor, and four others under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
"The contractor is responsible for the disaster. Also, if any government officials are involved in this, strict action will be taken against them," said Eknath Shinde, Minister of Urban Development and Public Works in Maharashtra.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the family members of the victims.
"Saddened by the building collapse in Mahad, Raigad in Maharashtra. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their dear ones. I pray the injured recover soon. Local authorities and NDRF teams are at the site of the tragedy, providing all possible assistance," Modi said in a Twitter post.
Due to heavy downpours during monsoon season, many structures become too dangerous to live in. Since July, several parts of Maharashtra have seen floods and many regions have reported house collapses.