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Malin landslide pushes PMC to survey hills for risk of disasters

Following an order from the state, the civic body will study each hilly settlement to prevent another tragedy

Pune: As the landslide at Malin continues to claim more lives — showing how lethal excessive rain can be in hilly areas — the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has ordered a survey of risk-prone areas in the city to prevent another such calamity.

The city is surrounded by hills, on many of which rest thousands of homes, in both developed complexes and slum settlements. However, the Malin tragedy has brought to light that the PMC is far from prepared were any disaster to strike here. In fact, the corporation had never carried out any study to gauge which areas in the city could be at risk from similar incidents.

Pushed into action by the recent landslide, the state government has ordered all corporations in the state to conduct a survey of the hills in its jurisdiction, said PMC Commissioner Vikas Deshmukh.

The officials have no specific details about the population residing in or near the hilly areas in the city. “Out of the total city population 37 per cent reside in slums. Exactly how many from that percentage reside on hilltops or slopes is yet to be figured out,” said Deshmukh.

Prashant Waghmare, PMC city engineer said, “We are initiating a preliminary survey to figure out the danger-prone areas in and around the city. This survey will give us all the details through which we can decide the further course of action.”
mid-day’s report on Friday (Disaster waiting to happen in heart of Pune, August 1) had highlighted how as many as 170 houses in the Ramnagar area in Yerwada were under severe threat from a landslide, while the PMC had done
nothing but send repeated eviction notices.

Fortunately, PMC’s disaster management cell seems to have a better grasp of the situation. “We are consistently conducting follow-ups, and with the help of the ward office, have been sending notices to residents in the Ramnagar area, where 170 houses are near a hillock. Besides Ramnagar, parts of Kothrud, Narhe Ambegaon, Dhankawdi, and especially areas with stone mines, are at greater risk of landslides,” Ganesh Sonune, PMC disaster management officer said.

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