Mumbai: Danger, debris at Khareghat Colony
Hughes Road residential colony staring at potential disaster as hill portion breaks away smashing windows
It was mud and mayhem at the landmark Hughes Road's Khareghat Colony on Wednesday. Residents of the 108-year-old Parsi Colony are living in dangerous conditions even as it rains relentlessly. On Wednesday, there was a mudslide scenario adjacent to building no. 5 of the colony. A portion of the hill behind the building collapsed and mud rolled down, smashed windowpanes of a room in a ground floor flat and entered through the grills. The colony, located on a slope, has 30 buildings.
Dr Shanaz Khodaiji and her son Zayaan said, "The mud started pouring in by 4 am on Wednesday. The affected bedroom is unoccupied and was shut. The mud smashed the windows and came in. We rushed to the room to see torrents of mud coming in. Even before we could fully understand what was going on, there was mud all over the floor, bed and walls. We had extensive damage inside our house."
Even as the Khodaijis were talking to this reporter hours after the early morning deluge, mud continued to pour in.
"We just cleaned the room, but it's already filling up with mud again," said Dr. Khodaiji. This paper's photographer witnessed a similar scene while clicking some pictures of the mud deluge. He said, "I heard a loud sound while taking pictures and saw mud rolling down the hill and into the room. The earlier mud onslaught was so powerful that it cracked a mirror in the room, and caked the ceiling fan too."
Bombay Parsi Panchayat's (BPP) Viraf Mehta said, "There was no injury, and surveyors and engineers were at the site. This is not a landslide. The BPP has a sub-office in the colony."
BJP corporator, Jyotsna Mehta, who was at the colony, termed the situation "very dangerous." She added, "The base is mud, so we need to see how we can stop further sliding of it. There are a couple of trees that seem to be in a precarious condition and they may fall with the sliding mud."
There is a real sense of unease and fear rippling through Khareghat. A long-time resident said, "I have never seen a situation like this in all the years I've lived here. It is certainly scary. The retaining wall around the entire property needs a quick reinforcement."
A Khareghat Colony Welfare Association member concurred that as an immediate precaution, they were building a wall of cement bags. "There is some danger to life and property in the current situation," the member said. "This retaining wall is wholly the BMC's responsibility. We need government support and JCBs should be used to clear the mud. Where are they? Some local leaders have shown their 'famous' faces and have gone," said an office bearer who refused to give his name or designation, claiming, "we all are equal here." Prashant Gaikwad, D ward assistant municipal commissioner, did not respond to calls and messages for a comment.
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