(Refiles to correct spelling in first, eighth paragraphs)
* Woman dragged alive from rubble after 36 hours trapped
* Building constructed illegally-chief minister
By Vivek Prakash
MUMBAI, April 6 The death toll from a collapsed
building in India's financial centre Mumbai rose to 72 on
Saturday, as an injured woman trapped for 36 hours was freed
from the rubble of the illegal and half-constructed building.
Rescue workers using cranes and bulldozers continued to
search through the wreck of twisted steel and concrete after the
seven-storey building collapsed "like a pack of cards" on
Thursday evening, officials and witnesses said.
A shortage of cheap homes in Asia's third-largest economy
has led to a rise in illegal construction by developers who use
substandard materials and shoddy methods in order to offer
rock-bottom rents to low-paid workers.
"The building collapsed like a pack of cards within three to
four seconds," said Ramlal, a resident. "It just tilted a bit
and collapsed," he said. Residents said labourers paying rent of
around $5 a day had lived in the building.
The building, which was in a forested area in the city of
Thane, had been made using poor materials and without proper
approvals, said Sandeep Malvi, a spokesman for licensing
authority the Thane Municipal Corporation.
He said 72 people had been killed and 36 injured had been
admitted into local hospitals. "There may still be more bodies
inside," Malvi added. "The rescue is still going on."
As the sun rose on Saturday, around 100 workers from the
national disaster relief agency continued to use jackhammers and
other equipment to cut through the pile of metal and concrete.
The woman dragged from the building on Saturday was found
after workers heard her voice and used camera equipment to
pinpoint her location under the rubble. A 10-month old infant
was pulled from the debris on Friday.
The Deputy Municipal Commissioner of the area has been
suspended following the collapse, which the state chief minister
said was due to the building being built illegally, local media
Police said they were searching for the builders and would
charge them with culpable homicide in connection with the
"Unauthorised constructions are a product of unavailability
of affordable housing," said Lalit Kumar Jain, president of the
Confederation of Real Estate Developers of India.
A sharp rise in property prices in densely populated Mumbai
over the past five years has put housing out of reach for tens
of thousands of lower earners, many of whom moved to the city in
search of jobs, and who now sleep on the streets or in slums.
In 2012, India's urban housing shortage was estimated at
nearly 19 million households, according to a report by the
Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.
(Additional reporting by Aditi Shah and Danish Siddiqui;
Writing by Henry Foy; Editing by Michael Perry)