Mumbai: An 18-year-old died and 15 others were injured after a 25m long retaining wall collapsed on seven shanties at the Shankar tekdi in Mulund’s Shastri Nagar. According to officials, the incident happened around 1.30 am on Saturday. The injured were rushed to the nearby Agarwal hospital. The 18-year-old was identified as Prashant Jadhav.
The retaining wall, built for safety along the century-old Tansa pipeline, collapsed on the shanties following heavy rain for the past six days. The slum dwellers in the area said that the wall was built during the British era.
Officials from the forest department present at the site had started surveying the number of people living close to the pipeline to shift them to a safer location. “People living 15-20 feet away will be shifted soon,” an official said on condition of anonymity.
Forest officials also said that the people living in the area were asked to relocate at the onset of monsoon. The shanties were served a notice under section 26 of the Indian Forests Act, 1927, an official said.
Located on steep, narrow slopes, the area is one of the many landslide-prone areas identified by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in the eastern suburbs. Sagar Bhoje, a resident said, “We are still living in fear of a landslide. Every monsoon, authorities ask us to vacate but where will we go?”
On Saturday, the slum dwellers said that even trees collapsed with the wall resulting in chaos at night. Dnyaneshwar Purve said, “It was very difficult to rescue people as the stones, branches and even fans had collapsed on people.”
A senior civic official from the T ward (Mulund), who did not want to be quoted, said that he has even written to the forest department to secure the retaining wall at the Amar Nagar, a kilometre away from Shastri Nagar where the retaining wall is in a deteriorating condition.