Three Gaimukh residents who had gone to the creek’s bank to answer nature’s call on Monday morning, got caught in a mudslide. While two of them were saved, one is feared dead.
Shatrugan Patil (51), Rakesh Choudhary (25) and Suresh Gore (24) had gone along the Gaimukh creek's bank at Ovala-Majiwada in Thane (West).
Patil and Choudhary sustained injuries on their legs but Gore could not be found during the rescue operation.
“The sand suddenly slid and I slipped down to the creek. Though I know how to swim, I was trapped in the sand. Once the sand stopped falling, I swam to the other side from where I was rescued. Gore didn't know how to swim and must have drowned,” said Choudhary, a driver.
Patil managed not to fall into the creek.
“When the sand slid, I managed to keep myself along the creek but was caught in the sand that slid on me. There are no public toilets in our village. That is why we had to go to the creek. The municipal corporation has done nothing about it till now,” said Patil, a shopkeeper.
Around 300 families have been living along the creek for the past 50 years.
Residents say their village that falls under ward no. 1 of the municipal corporation has not been provided with public toilets or water supply.
The corporation, however, refutes this allegation.
“These people have encroached upon creek land, which comes under coastal zone regulation. We have some restrictions regarding developing such area,” said Assistant Municipal Commissioner (Manpada ward) Ashok Burpulle.
“However, we tried to construct toilets two years ago but the residents opposed. They refused to give land saying it belonged to them,” he added.
Search for Gore is still on. Gore who worked in the sand mining transport business got married two years ago.
Fire brigade officials dove into look for him in the creek but stopped the operation in the afternoon due to high tide.
“We have reported a missing case and circulated Gore’s photograph to all the police stations,” said senior police inspector Pramod Khade.