Mumbai: Slum dwellers blame forest department for deaths in Malad wall collapse

Updated: Jul 03, 2019, 07:27 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

They claim they could have been avoided if the FD had resolved the issue of their resettlement and rehabilitation

IFS officer Jayoti Banerjee (in pink) meets locals at the spot
IFS officer Jayoti Banerjee (in pink) meets locals at the spot

The slum dwellers of Pimpripada and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar near Kurar village, have alleged that the deaths of 21 people in a wall collapse there on Tuesday, could have been avoided, if the Forest Department had tackled the long-pending issue of their resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R).

On Tuesday they not only criticised the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), but were furious with the FD. A resident, Suresh Dindore said, "The FD always claimed that this is their land, and years back demolished our houses saying we would get flats. I have been staying here from 1990 and had even paid R7,000 for the form for R&R, but till date I have not got a house. This proves the fact that the FD is least bothered."

Manish Sadvekar, another resident said, "We hope that the FD officials learn a lesson from this incident and complete the R&R process. Also, action should be taken against the BMC officials and contractor responsible for constructing a wall that was not up to the mark."

Also read: Two dead after getting trapped inside Scorpio in flooded Malad subway

Senior FD officials who visited Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar on Tuesday afternoon had to face the ire of residents and left in a hurry, as they were questioned about the R&R. The residents have also alleged that the eligibility survey of houses done by the FD was not up to the mark.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Dinesh J Singh said, "The matter regarding the R&R is sub-judice as buildings for the same would be in an Air Funnel Zone, and so permission to construct them over 5 floors was refused. It will be wrong to say forest department delayed it."

Also read: Mumbai Rains: 18 dead, 69 injured in horrific wall collapse in Malad

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