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An expert team from the College of Engineering Pune (CoEP), which studied the cracks that appeared in newly-built homes in Malin village, has issued strict instructions to keep a check on water levels in the vicinity of these homes. This comes after a three-member team from the engineering college made two visits to the site, after the walls of a few houses developed cracks and roads leading to them caved in, following incessant rains on the night of June 25.
Experts said there were some glaring flaws in civil works — particularly pertaining to controlling water seepage — along areas near the houses that were constructed in recent months.
CoEP team leader BG Birajdar told The Indian Express, “These homes that were built just months before the monsoon, and the water accumulating near the plots, need to be taken into consideration.”
He said the team has given clear instructions to those carrying out repair works to keep the water levels in check. “This is a major threat in the area and we have asked for the map of total surface-water drainage layout over these homes. Accordingly, we can take steps to rule out further damages in the future,” he said.
The team also realised that not all the houses had developed cracks.
“More than 50 per cent of the houses were constructed in recent months and it is the first monsoon for these settlements. On inspecting the slightly older constructions, we found no faults in those,” added another team member.
Geologists, who studied the area after the 2014 landslide that killed over 150 villagers, are of the opinion that the soil found in and around Malin has high water-absorption and retention capacity, making it extremely moist. “That is the main reason why it poses higher threats for… any new construction, as has happened in this case. It appears that the moist soil has not settled and strengthened enough to support the foundation of the new constructions,” said a senior geologist from Savitribai Phule Pune University.
As the repair work is underway in full force, and since there has been no rain in the last few days, experts believe that the repair work will be completed by the end of the month.
“Once the work is over, we will inspect the site again. We will conduct thorough checks to ensure that the houses are now safe for living, after which they will be certified,” said Birajdar.