Natural or man-made, either way, the landslide in Malin has served eviction notice on villagers who survived the death and destruction that came rolling down the hills on July 30 morning as they slept.
The village of 1,150 houses in Pune district has been deemed unsafe and the survivors hanging around in desperation have started moving out.
Five days after the disaster, the death toll stands at 121 and the administration fears 55 persons are still trapped under the sludge.
The district administration on Sunday put up notices on the houses that survived the landslide. The villagers, through the notice, were asked to vacate their homes and relocate to other places.
“Through this notice, it is informed you that due to the recent natural calamity, your houses have become dangerous for stay. We therefore request you not stay in the house,” read the notice that was put out a day after Geological Survey of India (GSI) experts surveyed the site.
Abandoning Malin forever, however, will be difficult for the inhabitants because they have their cropland in the village.
Relief and rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam has said the administration will discuss the settlement plans with villagers after the rescue operations.
“It is impossible for us to stay here. We have lost everything, relatives and neighbours,” said Dashrath Jhazare, a Malin villager.
After torrential rains triggered the landslide early Wednesday, a chunk of the hillside gave way, sending mud, rocks and trees cascading down on the village.
The danger is not over yet. Harbans Singh, director general, GSI, Kolkata said, “The adjacent slopes are precarious and down below few houses are present… if it continues to rain for another three to four days, there is possibility of further sliding in the adjacent portions.
“Keeping in mind it has been suggested that rescue team evacuate houses present adjacent to the landslide-affected zone.”
On Monday, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) extricated a few more bodies. Rescue operations were hampered as rain picked up after a gap of two days. The NDRF’s seven teams at the site have sifted through 70% of the mud.
The damaged houses after a landslide triggered by heavy rains aLandslide in Ambegaont Malin village in Pune district, Maharashtra. (PTI Photo)