After both the Central and Western Railway suffered massive disruptions within the first two days of the monsoon, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu sent a team of 22 senior officials to inspect the monsoon preparations made by the suburban railway administration. Predictably, the inspection led to the local authorities playing the blame game. One of the biggest issues was the partial collapse of the Parsik Hill tunnel on the Kalyan end of the Central line, which not only led to several trains being cancelled on Tuesday, but is the reason why trains are still running late.

A portion of the damaged retaining wall is still hanging precariously from the slope. Pic/Sameer Markande
A portion of the damaged retaining wall is still hanging precariously from the slope. Pic/Sameer Markande

After the inspection team visited the tunnel yesterday and saw the extent of the damage, neither the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) nor the railway officials refused to take responsibility. Parsik hill has been infested with illegal slums and shanties and the landslide that occurred on June 21 exposed its ill-effects.

“I have been informed that only the Parsik tunnel and tracks fall under the railway’s jurisdiction. Had the TMC and other concerned agencies taken precautionary measures then the situation wouldn’t have been so alarming,” said Railway Board executive director (Civil Engineering), Satish Pandey, who went to the site along with an officer the Research, Design and Standards Organisation.

While the railways claimed that the area was under the TMC’s jurisdiction, the civic body stated that it is the forest department that owns the land. “This land belongs to the Forest Department and we do not have information on the shanties and structures that have encroached on the hill. It is the Forest Department’s job to remove them,” said a senior official from TMC.