A ground-plus-two-floor embroidery factory building in Surat collapsed on Thursday morning but no casualties were reported as labourers immediately vacated the property.
Sources in the Surat fire department said the incident occurred around 8 am at the Katargam New Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). A tea stall owner spotted a small portion of the building falling from the front side, following which he shouted and alarmed labourers inside. The labourers left everything inside the factory and immediately vacated the property. In just a few seconds, the entire building collapsed.
The fire department, along with the demolition staff, immediately rushed to the spot and talked to the labourers who were standing outside and found that nobody was trapped inside. The demolition team started removing the debris after the entire area was cordoned off.
Fire officer Haresh Thakore said, “The property is around 40 years old and it is 50 feet by 35 feet and around 30 feet tall. It is ground plus two floors and each floor consists of textile embroidery machines. Four labourers immediately vacated the factory after getting alerted by the tea stall owner. The factory consists of 17 embroidery machines which were totally damaged. The owner of the factory is Rajnikant Chaliyawala. The neighbouring buildings were not damaged in the incident.”
Surat Mayor Daxesh Mawani reached the spot and examined the situation, as the area falls under his ward in Katargam.
Talking to the Indian Express, Mawani said, “The area falls in the GIDC and when I was a standing committee member with the SMC. I wrote a letter to the regional manager of the GIDC on January 30, 2023, and brought to their notice the many poor structures in the new GIDC and asked them to get those repaired. Till date, no actions were taken. With the grace of God, no casualty occurred today. We will again write to the GIDC and also make representation to the competent authority to get the structural stability of all properties and get the poor properties repaired.”
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A copy of the letter written by Mayor Mawani is with Indian Express. In the letter, Mawani mentioned that factory owners did the construction of new floors on the old properties without any structural stability certificates in the GIDC area. The factory owners are not getting the construction plan passed from the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), he had said. The factory owners also had done construction in the margin area and also extended some portions on upper floors towards the roadsides, he had said.
Katargam New GIDC Textile Association president Vijay Desai said, “There are over 900 textile factories in our area and here many buildings are in a dilapidated state. It should be repaired but nobody is taking the issue seriously. There are many buildings which are constructed illegally and even some of the buildings are built up to six floors, which should not be there in GIDC. Nobody is taking any actions.”
Sources said the Katargam police had called the factory owner, Rajnikant Chaliyawala, to the police station Thursday afternoon.