Mumbai: Falling rocks on Worli road pose risk to motorists
Leakage from a drain in RTO premises is eroding a small hillock, resulting in a threat of landslides, says BMC report
The road in Worli next to the hilly section, which poses a danger of landslides. Pics/Shadab Khan
Pedestrians, motorists and government buildings near Worli RTO are on shaky ground, literally. After finding a hilly portion behind the Regional Transport Office (RTO) risky and dangerous, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has sent a notice to take corrective measures against possible landslide on Sir Pochkhanwala Road. Offices of Maharashtra State Police Housing and Welfare Corporation, Anti-Corruption Bureau, traffic police department are on this road.
The road adjoining the hilly portion, which poses a risk of landslides
Locals and motorists had complained about the possibility of a mishap due to a landslide owing to small portions of loose rocks often seen falling on the road and footpath behind the RTO located at the top of the hill near INS TRATA, a Navy missile base. Schoolchildren also frequent the road and footpath during weekdays, as there is a school in the vicinity.
Following the seriousness of the issue, local Yuva Sena leader Abhijit Patil had sent a written complaint to the BMC, Public Works Department (PWD) and the RTO. After his complaint, the BMC had carried out an inspection of the site last year. In its report (September 2017), civic officials found the place dangerous because of soil erosion during the monsoon. Also, the pressure created by storage of groundwater adds to the risk of a landslide, the report said.
‘No action till date’
Speaking to mid-day, Patil said, "We have been following this issue for the last five months. As the land is under RTO’s jurisdiction, BMC had sent several letters to it, asking it to take corrective measures. The road is used by motorists and students, as is the footpath adjacent to the hilly portion. During the monsoon, possibility of a landslide is higher, and rains will start in two months now. Yet, there has been no action till date."
"Also, water seepage can be seen from the rear of the RTO compound wall, due to leakage from a drain pipe. The work on a retaining wall should be done before the monsoon. What will be the point of doing it after lives are lost? Why do authorities wake up only after casualties?"
A senior civic official from G-south ward said, "Despite several reminders, there’s been no response from the RTO, which should construct a retaining wall to avoid any untoward incident. We sent a fresh letter in March, specifically mentioning that if anything happened, the RTO would be held responsible; yet, there’s been no response." On March 30, assistant engineer (Maintenance Department) of G-south ward wrote another letter (copy of which is with mid-day) to MHADA and PWD to take precautionary measures at the earliest.
Documents available with mid-day show that in the last five months, G-south (Worli) ward wrote letters to RTO to take action to avoid mishaps - the first letter was sent on September 8, 2017, informing it about the possibility of a landslide. After not getting any response, the civic body had sent another on September 30, 2017, stating that it was a very important and serious issue and required immediate action.
The other side
Speaking to mid-day, Assistant Engineer of PWD Anil Kanitkar said, "We are aware of the issue and plan to construct a retaining wall. Recently, we prepared an estimate of the work and sent it to the RTO to procure funds from it. Once it is approved, we will invite tenders and start work. If funds are sanctioned soon, we will try and finish the work before monsoon starts."