Death toll in Mumbai building collapse rises to 63

More than 63 people have died, including 20 children, and 40 others injured since Thursday evening when an illegal, under-construction building collapsed like a pack of cards near Mumbai, a senior police official said Saturday.

The building was being illegally built on forest land, he said, adding that a massive manhunt has been launched to track down two builders of the illegal building who have been booked for causing deaths due to negligence and on the run since the incident.

Local TV channels reported that the builders almost built the apartment building in a span of just two months, using sub- standard materials, and said that the local civic body officials did not pay heed to complaints of local residents who objected to the illegal construction.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of the western state of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, has ordered a high-level probe into the incident. "Two government officials have been suspended for dereliction of duty, one being a local civic body official and the other a senior police official. We will take strict action against anyone found guilty in the probe," he told the media. Building collapses are common in India due to poor safety standards.