Mumbai rains: Landslide shakes Wadala neighbourhood
Parking lot adjacent to a building where construction work was going on collapses, plunging several cars into caved pit; residents blame builder, who shrugs off responsibility for mishap
Around 4 am on Monday, Lloyd Estate resident Pinky Sharma was awakened by a loud thud. "I thought it was a cloudburst, because it had been raining profusely," she said. But that was not the case, as she soon discovered. "When I went to shut the window, I saw the parking area sliding down and taking cars along," said Sharma, whose car also slipped into the pit.
What Sharma witnessed was a landslide that shook the residents of the Wadala East neighbourhood. While there were no casualties, at least seven cars slid into the collapsed portion.
The D-wing of the building, which is just above the affected area, was evacuated immediately. The cause of the landslide remains unknown, but residents have blamed the construction work being done by Dosti Realty in the adjoining plot for the incident. They alleged it has disrupted their premises.
Saw this coming
Lloyd Estate residents said they saw this coming. "What happened today is only an aggravation of the problem. The structural damage had already happened on those walls. We feel this is because of the construction happening in the next plot," said resident Sumit Srivastava.
The matter is being fought in court, too. "We've been facing this issue since the last one and a half year. We'd even moved court with our complaint; a mediator had been appointed in the matter," said Priya Deshmukh, a resident.
"It is mindless construction. It was an open plot and we wonder how the permissions for the construction were sanctioned. This has become a menace now," said Armin Pardiwala, a lawyer, who resides in Dosti Acres Complex.
When mid-day visited the scene later on Monday, we found another portion of the compound wall, just next to the one that slid, on the verge of collapsing. A little ahead, a huge crack near the parking area jumped in the face.
It wasn't hard to see that this incident has affected the premises of the adjoining Dosti Blossom, too. "Our entire basement had gone down by some feet six months ago, after which we'd complained to the building. They'd done a temporary rectification, yet it went down last week," said Ashwin Malvade, a merchant navy officer, who resides in Dosti Blossom. "The boundary wall has broken and there are cracks on the peripheral wall too. We are worried," said Mahesh G, another resident.
"We're afraid. What happened at Lloyd's can happen with us anytime. We've complained to the building, BMC's building proposal department and the BMC commissioner. Today, we have officially complained to the police, who have also examined the damage on our premises," said Manoj Gurav, housing society committee member of Dosti Blossom.
"We've been downstairs since morning. All top officials have been coming and going, but what about a permanent solution to the problem? All of us are worried," said Simran Parmar, legal consultant and a resident of the D-wing.
Meanwhile, shrugging off responsibility for the damage, a spokesperson of Dosti Realty said, "With respect to today's [Monday's] unfortunate event of the caving in of the road between the property of Dosti Realty Ltd. and Wadala Heights Co-operative Housing Society Limited, we state that the same has happened on account of heavy rains last [Sunday] night and due to said caving in, some cars parked on the said road have got damaged," said a spokesperson of Dosti Realty.
Assistant municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal, said, "We've issued Dosti Realty with a stop-work notice and they should not do any construction till the end of monsoon."
Letter of warning ignored?
In May 2017, the residents appointed an independent engineer to inspect the premises and check for danger from the excavation going on in the plot that collapsed on Monday. Following the inspection the engineer Nitin Kamble had written a letter to the F-North ward. Dated Aug 4, 2017, it says, "The buildings are not very old to get inspected and hence, the type of distress observed during the inspection was pointing fingers towards the excavation activities being carried out at the common neighboring plot for all the probable reasons of propping up of the distress."
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