Indian authorities have vowed to crack down on illegal construction after almost 80 people, including 30 children, were killed when a building collapsed in Mumbai.

The seven-storey building was built in just 45 days and was located in Thane - an area where hundreds of other buildings have been built illegally.

Two of the builders have been arrested, as have several other public officials alleged to have taken bribes to let the construction proceed.

Like many of the people who lived in the building, Imran Khan made a meagre income running a small shop.

"I had bought space in the building to set up a shop. But now all of that is gone," he said.

"My family all died in the collapse: my wife and my two children.

"I have nothing now."

The building collapse has highlighted poor building standards in India. Huge demand for housing and pervasive corruption means cost-cutting often occurs and safety inspections are not carried out.

It is almost impossible to estimate how many buildings are constructed illegally in India.

In response to the collapse, authorities in Mumbai have started demolishing a number of illegally constructed buildings and the state government of Maharashtra has vowed to crack down on illegal construction.

The head of the National Congress Party in the state, Manikrao Thackray, says the Municipal Corporation did not pay proper attention to the way construction was carried out.

"We will get to know whose responsibility this was in order to thwart such instances in the future," he said.

"The government and the Municipal Corporation should take measures in this regard."

Architect and town planner Abha Lambhao says India has a national building code but corruption and negligence prevent it from being enforced.

"It's not that these codes are not in place," she said.

"The point is these are absolute violations, and when someone chooses to completely disregard the law ... everyone else turns a blind eye.

"It's not just endemic of Thane; it's true of any city in India.

"We have thousands and millions of people who haplessly buy a flat ... but laypersons normally don't even know that they need to look at the completion certificate, the occupation certificate.

"They just go to a builder, buy a flat on whatever square foot area and move in. And it's terrible that things like this are allowed to happen."

 

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