In a first, the state government set up a green corridor for relief and rescue operations on Thursday which facilitated swift arrival of NDRF teams from suburban Andheri to Bhendi Bazar in south Mumbai, the site of a building crash in which 33 people were killed.
The five-storey Hussaini building, located in the densely -populated area, came crashing around 8:30 am trapping many residents under the rubble.
It was a battle against time for rescuers, as a delay in launching the operations would have further narrowed the small window of time to save lives.
In the absence of the 21-km high-speed corridor, the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) personnel would have got stuck in the sluggish south Mumbai-bound traffic, which would have slowed down the rescue operations at a time when every minute was crucial.
NDRF teams left its base in Andheri immediately after receiving a distress call around 8:40 am, a senior official said on Friday recalling the Thursday’s events.
However, the teams got stuck in the traffic after just a few kms.
“We barely covered a distance of around five-km when we reached Vakola at around 9:40 a.m.” he said, adding that at that moment they decided to request the authorities to ensure a green corridor.
“The spot (in south Mumbai) is about 25 to 30 km away.
Considering the morning traffic, it would have taken a lot of time to reach the site of the collapse.
“However, thanks to the green corridor set up by the traffic police, we reached Bhendi Bazar within an hour at around 10:30 am,” said Mahesh Nalawade, Deputy Commandant, NDRF, Maharashtra.
He said three NDRF teams, with 40 personnel each, were part of the rescue operation which ended at around 12 noon today.
“As NDRF had to reach the spot of the building collapse as early as possible to join the rescue operation, we set up the high speed-corridor for them,” a senior traffic police official said.
Green corridor is generally effected in situations like medical emergencies or during transport of vital human organs.