About 327 hilly areas in Mumbai spread across 25 constituencies, accommodating over one lakh people, have been identified as dangerous and are vulnerable to landslides, reveals a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
According to the reply received by Anil Galgali, who filed the RTI, the authorities have recommended to shift 9,657 huts on priority basis out of the 22,483 huts from these areas, while proposing to protect remaining huts by constructing retaining walls around the hills.
RTI activist Galgali has alerted the government about these 327 hilly areas that are vulnerable to landslides, especially during monsoon. The most dangerous assembly constituencies were Goregaon where 3,058 hutments are found dangerous and after that Chandivali recorded 2,684 hutments on the danger level. In 2000, about 78 people lost there life after a landslide in Ghatkopar West Azad Nagar. Similarly during 2005, around 73 people lost their lives in Sakinaka Khadi landslide.
Galgali, in an email sent to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Secretary Swadhin Kshatriya and BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, said, through his RTI queries about resettlement, he found out that in 25 assembly constituencies across Mumbai, there are 22,483 hutments in 327 hilly areas, which are located precariously and need to be shifted urgently.
"Instead of spending crores of rupees to construct retaining hills, I think that the Maharashtra government should shift these slum dwellers to 15,000 vacant Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and BMC tenements across the city," Galgali said in his letter.
According to Galgali, 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.
"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,"
"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, 45 months have passed since then but the Urban Development Department is yet to implement it, neither had it prepared any Action Taking Plan (ATP) as Chief Minister Chavan had ordered," Galgali concluded.