About 327 hilly areas in Mumbai spread across 25 constituencies, accommodating almost over a lakh people, have been identified as dangerous and are vulnerable to landslides, a city-based RTI activist claimed on Friday.
“As per information received through RTI, there are 327 hilly areas classified as dangerous spread across 25 constituencies. Of the 22,483 huts in these areas, the authorities recommended shifting 9,657 huts on a priority basis,” RTI activist Anil Galgali said.
“The remaining huts were proposed to be protected by constructing retaining walls around the hills,” Galgali said.
Galgali has also alerted the Maharashtra government about the 327 hilly areas which are vulnerable to landslides owing to the expected monsoon shortly.
In Galgali’s email sent to the Maharashtra Chief Minister, the chief secretary and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner, he said that through his RTI queries about resettlement, he found out that across 25 assembly constituencies of the city’s western as well as eastern suburbs, there are 22,483 hutments in 327 hilly areas, which are located precariously and need to be shifted urgently.
Last year, it was revealed through an RTI query, that almost 260 people lost their lives, while more than 270 people were injured in landslides between 1992 and 2013, he said.
In wake of these incidents, Galgali has demanded that the government ought to act in order to safeguard the lives of those living in hilly areas.
“Instead of spending crores of rupees to construct retaining hills, I think that the Maharashtra government should shift these slumdwellers to
15,000 vacant Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and BMC tenements across the city,” Galgali said in his letter.
“Deaths of those residing in hilly areas could have been prevented, had their hutments been shifted, as it was recommended by the Mumbai Slum Improvement Board which had carried out a comprehensive survey in 2010,” said Galgali.
“Acting on the Board’s report, on 19 September 2011, the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had ordered preparation of an action plan. However, 34 months have passed since then but the Urban Development Department is yet implement it, neither had it prepared any Action Taking Plan (ATP) as Chief Minister Chavan had ordered,” Galgali said.