Devram Dada chawl, a nondescript slum pocket in the Antop Hill area, which is shelter to more than 150 families, has witnessed a series of landslides in the past, according to locals.
“In the last 10 years, there have been at least eight incidents of landslides here. Though people have been injured, landslides in the past were never fatal,” said Vinod Aiwale, 26.
Aiwale was one of the five men who rescued people from the rubble before the rescue team arrived.
“Before the commencement of the monsoon, around a month ago, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had sent eviction notices to the families staying at the foothill. But the families did not leave,” Aiwale added.
Sarubai Kamble, whose house was damaged in the incident, said: “Every year, we receive a notice but we cannot afford to move out of this area. We have to stay here as we have nowhere else to go.”
Sulaiman Sayyed, who escaped because he had gone for morning prayers, said, “Most of the people staying here are financially weak. They are paying monthly rent of around Rs1,500 for a 30-square foot room, which can barely accommodate a family of four.”
Locals said that two years ago, seven houses were brought down so a compound wall could be built.
But the area where the landslide occurred did not have a compound wall, locals said.