Mumbai: Two years later, 70 families hit by Malad wall crash yet to be rehabilitated

September 13, 2021

Mumbai: Two years later, 70 families hit by Malad wall crash yet to be rehabilitatedMUMBAI: Over 70 families affected by a wall collapse in Malad’s Kurar village that killed 31 persons in 2019 are on a dharna for over 45 days, demanding rehabilitation to a safer location. BMC is yet to begin work on a new wall. The families are still at the same spot where the retaining wall had crashed, killing neighbours doing heavy rain.

While officials said 86 families were allotted flats at project-affected people (PAP) buildings in Mahul, 75 are still living in danger.

“It is like a death trap and we live in fear. Only homes that were completely crushed or homes where people died were given new places in Mahul. There are still 75 families still living here. We don’t know when we will die. BMC and the government must provide us accommodation,” said Tejpratap Tripathi, who lives at Azad Nagar slum.

BJP corporator Vinod Mishra said he had urged BMC and forest department to move the remaining slum-dwellers to safer locations and rebuild the wall. “BMC’s hydraulic engineering department cleared a proposal to reconstruct the wall this week. But work is yet to begin. Residents must be shited to safer locations and the wall must be reconstructed,” Mishra said.

Only when it rains heavily the families are moved to nearby Parekh Nagar municipal school. “They must be permanently rehabilitated in Malad itself, and not treated like cattle. Leader of Opposition Praveen Darekar has sought a meeting with all departments concerned,” Mishra said.

Soon after the incident, then civic chief Praveen Pardeshi had appointed experts from non-government and social organisations to look into lapses. Portions of the wall that had begun to tilt were razed.

Despite BMC spending Rs 21 crore to build the 2.3km long, 15-ft tall wall around its reservoir, it collapsed within two years of construction. In December 2019, the panel investigating the incident had not held anyone accountable. In its report, the nine-member technical investigation committee stated that heavy rainfall coupled with holes blocked by hutment dwellers resulted in the mishap. But the committee recommended that at Malad reservoir, on the upstream side of the storm water drain, the slope should be properly stabilized to avoid localised landslides. The topography of plots/properties owned by BMC shall be ascertained by the department concerned and, if required, slope stabilisation shall be carried out to avoid a mishap.

According to forest department officials, 86 families were allotted flats in Mahul but eight eligible families could not be moved to Mahul due to high court orders barring new allotment of flats at Mahul for PAPs. Some allotted the flats refused to move to Mahul. The forest department had requested BMC to allot flats in other PAP buildings for the eight families.

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