Byculla station wall collapse kills woman

Civic body's road renovation work suspected cause

A compound wall at Byculla Railway Station (West) collapsed on Thursday afternoon killing a woman and injuring two men. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's roads department is probing if the collapse was triggered by work to widen the road, and renovate the footpath a few feet from the wall.

The wall collapse killed a 22-year-old woman, Naseebul Sheikh and injured two men, Mustufa Sheikh (50), and Riyaz Sheikh (20).

V Karbare, assistant municipal commissioner of E Ward said, "The BMC was doing some footpath renovation work in the area. Only a month ago, the roads department had carried out a massive drive to remove encroachments from the area. I don't know how these people were present there."

Police said the driver of a JCB, which was apparently being used in the work, fled the spot.

Last month, the BMC had demolished 281 pavement settlements in Byculla under the Mahatma Gandhi Pathkranti Yojana. Settlements on footpaths outside Byculla (West) railway station were the first to be brought down and the demolition continued up to Bakri Adda in Chinchpokli corner. Occupants of 180 legal structures that were razed have been provided alternative accommodation in Chembur.

A fire official said, "I rescued people from the debris and rushed them to Nair Hospital."

"The 22-year-old-woman was declared brought dead at the hospital. A 50-year old man suffered cuts on the forehead and a 20-year old man suffered injuries on the right foot. They were treated at the OPD," said Dr M K Sanjana, dean of Nair Hospital.

An official on behalf of the chief engineer of the roads department said contractors Vitrag Construction Company had not been working on the footpath on the side of the compound wall for the past few days. "The contractors were not working on the footpath today. In fact, for four or five days now, they have been working on the footpath on the other side of the road. I do not see how the footpath work could have affected the wall. It is still a few feet away."

The official said it was likely that the wall was too old and could not withstand the vibrations because of the work on the road.

"We will investigate to see what caused the collapse and if the area was cordoned off by the contractors working on the footpath. We will also see if we have to compensate the victims," said Karbare.

Agripada police have registered a complaint against the JCB driver. "We have seized the vehicle and through its registration details, identify and apprehend the driver. We have booked the driver under Sections 304 (A) and 327 of the Indian Penal Code," said assistant commissioner of police Jayant Sarmokaddam, Agripada division.

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