A mudslide killed 10 people and injured 12 at a hillock in Sakinaka on Thursday night. It occurred just 500m from a hill where 78 people died in a similar mudslide during the July 26, 2005, deluge.
State-appointed committees have been recommending preventive measures for years, with the first of their reports having been submitted nine years ago. None of the recommendations related to mudslides were implemented.
A panel headed by senior bureaucrat Rani Jadhav in 2000 said slums on hill slopes should be removed. A Conservation Action Trust report in 2005 blamed quarrying and construction near Powai Lake.
As the government announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for each bereaved family and Rs 50,000 for those injured, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and the Suburban Collectorate passed the buck.
“We gave residents evacuation notices, but it was MHADA’s responsibility to check if they had moved,” said Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak.
“It was not feasible to construct a retaining wall as the spot was more than 30 feet high. We told the BMC and the collector to shift residents to a safer spot before the monsoon,” said Appasaheb Misal, chief officer, Slum Improvement Board, MHADA.
“I appealed to residents to shift, but no one wanted to… All we can do now is help rehabilitate them,” said Suburban District Collector Vishwas Patil.
(With inputs from Bhavika Jain, Naresh Kamath)