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Mid-Day

Mumbai, May 29: The BMC and state government have learnt little from last year’s Saki Naka landslide tragedy, which claimed 78 lives and destroyed around 500 homes.

With the rains barely two weeks away, authorities have not yet evicted the thousands of families residing on and below Mumbai’s 98 landslide-prone areas.

They have also not paid attention to the recommendations made by a BMC- appointed 20-member committee on disaster management. The committee had advocated the immediate removal of people residing within 20 metres of landslide-prone areas.

Observing that landslides were predictable, it had suggested several measures to stabilise the hill slopes. The government had allotted Rs 18 crore towards implementation of the recommendations. But barring a few sites, most of the areas have been ignored.

Recommendations

V Subramanium, committee member and a retired Geology professor from IIT, Powai, said, “Landslides in the city’s residential areas occur largely due to human activities. Most city hill slopes are perfectly stable. Stone quarries and unchecked slums flourish at many hillocks and have destabilised the slopes removing its basal support. No landslide would occur if they weren’t disturbed.”

Subramanium added, “We suggested construction of retaining walls below the hill slopes and using steel wire nets over the slope to prevent boulders from sliding on to the families below. By spraying cement mixture over the hill slopes and supporting loose boulders with brackets, hill slopes could be stabilised,” Subramanium said.

Passing the buck?

Vilas Vaidya, head of BMC’s disaster management department said, “We have issued notices to families residing in these areas. MHADA’s Slum Improvement Board must take all other precautions.”

  

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