Forest Department, BMC pass the buck over temporary rehabilitation for Malad victims

Updated: Jul 04, 2019, 07:41 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav and Chetna Yerunkar

While the FD wants the civic body to arrange it for those affected by the landslide and wall collapse at Malad, the latter says they have so far not been instructed to do so

Forest Department, BMC pass the buck over temporary rehabilitation for Malad victims
BMC workers bring down part of the damaged wall at Malad. Pic/Satej Shinde

While two government agencies disagree, locals affected by a disaster continue to be at risk. The Forest Department (FD) wants the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to arrange for temporary rehabilitation for those affected at Pimpripada and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar due to the landslide and wall collapse, but the civic body has claimed that they have not yet received instructions to do so. The BMC has started demolishing part of the wall that is still standing and is damaged.

Along with the police, BMC and FD officials have requested residents of hutments close to the dangerous wall to vacate them, so that it can be shortened and there is no risk to their lives. But the FD wants the BMC to provide them temporary housing within the periphery of 20 metres of the wall. BMC officials said they don't have houses in Malad to accommodate them and as the FD does not have the exact number of people, it would be difficult to make such arrangements. If the BMC has to provide them temporary accommodation, it will be at Mahul.

Also read: Malad wall collapse: Victims blame fire officials for lack of intent

FD and BMC officials also discussed that the quantum of damage needs to be identified. The lack of geo-tagged houses has led to manual identification and cross verification of the injured people through lists in hospitals and the biometric survey data of the FD. According to the biometric data, there were 3,009 hutments at Ambedkar Nagar and over 800 hutments at Pimpripada.

Wall will be shortened
The Hydraulic Engineering department will form a committee of IIT and VJTI experts along with two ex-BMC officials to find the cause of collapse. "The wall will be brought down to half its height so that if it falls, there won't be any damage, as it won't reach the hutments. The show-cause notice to be issued to the contractor is being prepared and will be served on Thursday," said a senior Hydraulic Engineer.

Also read: Mumbai Rains: Malad wall collapse death toll rises to 23

An FD official said, "As a precautionary measure we have asked the BMC to evacuate the area within 20 metres of the boundary wall and give the residents temporary rehabilitation until they get a permanent solution. Then we will immediately barricade the area and plant trees to prevent more encroachment."

Residents staying in schools
Sanjog Kabare, an assistant municipal commissioner of P north ward, said, "We have made provisions for alternative accommodation for the residents in two schools. But there are no orders about giving them temporary housing yet." Conservator of Forests Jayoti Banerjee was not available for comment.

Also read: Mumbai Rains: Two men suffocate to death in Malad subway

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