Hoarding collapse victims’ belongings must be safeguarded

22 May,2024 06:51 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  The Editorial

About six police officers have been deployed at the site to guard the wreckage

Vehicles that were reduced to rubble. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

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The aftermath of the Ghatkopar hoarding tragedy is grim. Chaos reigns. There is severe damage to the petrol pump and many vehicles, which are now beyond repair. They are piled up in a mess, an extensive report stated in this paper. While police officers guard the accident site, rag pickers and drug addicts roam the area, scavenging for valuable motor parts and stealing iron angles and rods to sell cheaply to nearby scrap dealers.

About six police officers have been deployed at the site to guard the wreckage. However, the government has not provided them with basic amenities like washrooms and drinking water in this extreme heat. As a result, the officers often have to walk to nearby shops to buy water.

It is then that rag pickers and addicts get a window to do away with pricey motor parts or other items found scattered at the accident site. The wreckage can be important evidence in the case. If motor parts are stolen, the owners will face difficulties when claiming insurance.

There have to be safeguards in place for the damaged parts and victims belongings have to be guarded. A cordon may be needed to be thrown over the area, or more private security guards employed if official personnel cannot be shared. Different agencies will have to come together to do this. While washrooms may not be available, it is fairly easy to provide drinking water on site.

One cannot fathom that there is nobody who is taking sole responsibility for the clean-up operation and aftermath, after such a shameful tragedy has occurred. There has to be a solution instead of hand-wringing, red tape and passing the buck. Opportunistic scavenging also means that we are unable to give these people peace or dignity in death, compounding the pain of those grappling with loss.

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