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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Day after Vikhroli landslide, blame game starts between BMC and collector’s office

The BMC sent a reminder to the collector’s office for taking safety measures to avoid mishaps in the area. The suburban collector, however, claimed that it was the BMC's responsibility to prevent and remove encroachment, irrespective of the title of the land.

Written by Jayprakash S Naidu | Mumbai |
Updated: July 20, 2021 8:33:29 am
In another landslide, four people died in in Poladpur, which is also a landslide prone area. (Representational photo)

THE BMC and the suburban collector’s office are once again involved in a blame game, a day after a landslide killed 10 people, including three minors, at Panchsheel chawl located on a hill slope in Surya Nagar, which is a landslide-prone area in Vikhroli (West). The BMC sent a reminder to the collector’s office for taking safety measures to avoid mishaps in the area. The suburban collector, however, claimed that it was the BMC’s responsibility to prevent and remove encroachment, irrespective of the title of the land.

The civic body and the collector’s office had a similar tiff when, last month, 12 people, including eight children, were killed after a one-plus-three storey illegal structure on collector land crashed on two other structures in Malwani, Malad (West).

A senior BMC official, requesting anonymity, said, “We served the Panchsheel chawl residents a notice in April. After the incident, we have served a notice to all slum residents again; there are around 1,000 people, and we have asked them to vacate the area. We moved 30 people from the affected area on Monday and offered them accommodation at a municipal school nearby, but they refused and went to their relatives’ places. Even though notices were put up only for landslide-prone areas, the entire Surya Nagar located around the hill seems to be an unsafe place.”

The official added that the civic body had also written to the suburban collector’s office in April asking it to take safety measures. A reminder was also sent to the collector on Monday.

Responding to the development, suburban collector Milind Borikar told The Indian Express, “As per government directives issued from time to time, it’s the BMC’s responsibility to prevent and remove encroachment irrespective of the title of the land. The deputy collector (encroachment removal) works under housing department and not under revenue department/collector. We have submitted our detailed reply in the PIL, which is under consideration of the High Court.”

The work of clearing debris continued on Monday. As the slums are located on a hill slope, it is difficult to take machinery up there, and the entire work is being done manually.

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