May 27, 2022 6:17:49 pm
Ahead of the monsoon, landslide-prone areas dotting Mumbai have once against endangered the lives of thousands of families. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activists personally visited some of these vulnerable spots and according to them, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has no plans to tackle landslides during the monsoon.
In a statement issued Friday, the AAP said, “As per the RTI replies secured by RTI activist Anil Galgali, there are 327 landslide-prone areas while the BMC claims there are 291. Galgali says 22,483 families are at risk in the monsoons.”
“In 2021, more than 30 people died in the dual landslides of Bharat Nagar in Chembur and Suryanagar in Vikhroli. State environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray had allotted a fund of Rs 61.48 crore to secure these flood-prone areas but sadly, nothing has happened to safeguard the people, probably because they are the poorest of the poor,” AAP said.
AAP teams visited many landslide-prone areas and reported that there is zero preparation for the inevitable monsoon onslaught. Ambedkar Nagar in Chembur was visited by a team led by AAP’s Mumbai president Preeti Sharma Menon.
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She noted, “The families whose houses had totally broken have been sent to transit accommodations but dozens of families are at risk there and they haven’t been relocated. Nor has any work been done to build a wall or even move the debris.”
An Aam Aadmi Party team led by Pius Varghese went to Suryanagar. Sharing her experience she said, “The precarious wall that had collapsed last year has been pathetically patched up. The families whose houses had broken were not rehabilitated but given a small sum of money. Subsequently, they have rented an accommodation right there again. Many other houses in the danger zone are still standing under the shadow of death.”
Menon also visited Kurar Village in Malad where 30 people were killed when a reservoir wall collapsed in 2019. “The wall has not been rebuilt nor debris cleared. As many as 30 families, whose houses were crushed, have been dumped in Mahul, which is a long distance from here, making them refugees in their own city. The remaining 75 houses marked as being in the red zone have not been rehabilitated and they have been sitting on a dharna for over a year. Last two rains, they took shelter inside a school for a few days and returned again,” Menon said.
AAP leader Gopal Jhaveri visited Asalapha where 17 people had died in a landslide over a decade ago. According to Jhaveri, “The debris of the broken houses has still not been cleared nor has any retaining structure been made. Hundreds of new encroachments have made the area even more precarious and a large-scale disaster waiting to happen.”
After realising that the Aam Aadmi Party team was visiting landslide-prone areas, the BMC Thursday issued a warning and urged the residents of the landslide-prone areas to vacate their homes.
In a scathing attack against BMC, AAP wondered why there was no safety measure or rehabilitation plan undertaken in the last few years. “Where will the poor people go? How can they leave their homes without alternative dwellings before the monsoon?” the AAP asked.
It added, “How are they expected to leave their slums for some place far from their places of work and the schools of their children? Do you expect them to live in hotels? Can they afford it? This is nothing but absolute cruelty from the BMC and the ruling Shiv Sena,” AAP leaders said.
“They (BMC) claim they are positioning NDRF teams – but these teams merely move the residents after their houses are flooded, that too for a few days,” said AAP.
“Why is it that the BMC cannot rehabilitate 25,000 families and cordon off these hills? The nexus of corruption and lack of political will commits so many innocents to horrible deaths every monsoon. The blood of these deaths is on the hands of the ruling party Shiv Sena and their leadership should be charged for murder,” said Menon. She added, “Aaditya Thackeray keeps taking credit for allocating funds and allegedly supervising these activities, then the credit for the disasters too lies with him.”
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