Pointing to the dangers posed by unauthorised hutments built over Thane’s Parsik Tunnel, a railway tunnel, that may “ultimately cause danger to passengers traveling by train”, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed the state government to rehabilitate the people living in the huts immediately. Earlier, residents of such hutments had filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking a stay on any action being taken against them. The same was granted on July 20, 2016.
A civil application was then filed by the Central Railway seeking vacating the stay. Hearing the matter, a division bench of Justice A S Oka said: “This will cause danger. People living in such hutments need to be rehabilitated otherwise it will cause inconvenience to commuters. The government must resolve this immediately. They can’t continue living on top of a tunnel. Ultimately, it will cause danger to passengers travelling by train.”
The civil application states: “Under the Parsik Tunnel, there are two railway tracks. During the monsoon, the entire water of the hill top area flows down and passes through the tunnel. It also causes over flooding on both tracks resulting in not only effecting train services but also damaging the signal system of the railways.”
The court was informed that the entire area around Parsik Tunnel is with the forest department. “There are 109 unauthorised huts on top of the area of Parsik Tunnel and 575 huts in the rest of the area which causes nuisance…taking into consideration the coming monsoon season and in order to avoid any untoward incident, disaster of land sliding within the tunnel, putting the health and life of the hutments as well as the railways passengers into danger, it is necessary to remove the hutments on top of the Parsik Tunnel,” reads the application.
In 2016, during heavy rainfall, a landslide caution near Parsik tunnel near Mumbra severely affected the suburban train operations.