The district administration has vowed to ready the permanent houses for the Malin landslide-affected by Diwali this year and it is also planning to increase the number of temporary houses and address the demands and issues of the Malin villagers. The work on the permanent houses, 465-square-feet houses in a residential building, a little distance away from the tragedy site, is in full swing.
On the eve of the second anniversary of the Malin tragedy, tehsildar Ravindra Sabnis who has taken over last month is all set to address the issue of “small temporary shelters” and initiate the process of constructing more to accommodate the families. With 40 temporary shelters constructed for at least 50 families, these shelters are falling short of space which has forced one Raju Zanjare’s family to move to the original site of Malin.
“We are the only family living here. Though we have been given a notice for eviction, we have refused to move out. We remain undeterred,” he said. Zanjare lives with his wife, brother and his wife. Zanjare said Malin had a population of 400. “Of which, 151 have died,” he added.
Other villagers like Dilip Lembhe who lost ten members of his family feel that the temporary shelters are inadequate. “We are only two and in other families there are ten to twelve people and these small temporary shelters are inadequate,” he said.
Having lost six daughters, one son, his wife, mother and brother, Lembhe has been able to retain his job at Chakan as a worker but clearly looks still shaken. “I was the worst affected by the tragedy… How can I forget it… Though I have moved on in life after my marriage, I am still to get over the tragedy…,” he said.
The issues of these villagers will be addressed by the administration on Saturday. Some of the villagers have their reservation about Aamade as the permanent site for the rehabilitation as it is on a hillock and could prove risky.
“There were many sites proposed, but the officials have zeroed in on the current site which again looks risky like the earlier one. Even as consent was taken from most villagers, I have not given my approval for the new site,” said Dilip Lembhe. The government has proposed 68 houses at the site.
Meanwhile, at the temporary shelters lack of basic amenities and small ill-lit rooms continue to bother the villagers. “When the government gave us these shelters, we thought they would be improved eventually. However, we are unable to cook anything inside these small shelters and have to do so outside. In the monsoon season, it is practically impossible to cook,” said Savita Lembhe. Only a few households have gas connections.
At an Idea Exchange at The Indian Express office, earlier this week, District Collector Saurabh Rao had said, “Under government norms, houses of 269-square-feet are given to the poor sections of the society. But we are giving the Malin victims 465-square-feet houses.”