Peddar Rd bungalow residents asked to evacuate after landslide
Mumbai: The residents of Soham bungalow behind Cadbury House on Peddar Road have been asked to evacuate on account of safety concerns following a landslide in its vicinity, said Manohar Kulkarni, designated officer from D ward. Soham is owned by mining baron and founder of Vedanta Resources, Anil Agarwal.
Prashant Gaikwad, assistant commissioner, D ward, said that in doing so the BMC had acted on the advice of the IIT-VJTI panel which examined the site of the landslide and gave 15 recommendations, one of which was to urgently fill up the excavation work that was done on an under-construction building that is widely believed to have caused the landslide.
Architect Milind Changani, speaking on behalf of the builder of the under-construction project, Shree Somnath Infra Pvt Limited, said, “The IIT-VJTI panel has given a report and certified the neighbouring buildings as safe. We are stabilising the area by refilling the plot.”
Sources in D Ward said the IIT-VJTI panel has said in its findings that heavy rains might further endanger Soham and the neighbouring art deco building, Shah Baug if the area is not fully stabilised.
“We have since reinforced the boundary walls of Shah Baug to prevent percolation of rain water. Additionally, an internal road between Soham bungalow and neighbouring buildings that was used for parking has now been blocked for parking and has been barricaded. A twelve-storey building is planned at the under-construction site with a two-level basement and the work on basement reportedly led to the landslide ,” said Gaikwad.
The project architect Changani told Hindustan Times that 70 per cent of the excavated plot had already been resealed.
“Once the BMC finds that we have complied with the suggestions in the IIT-VJTI report, and a compliance report has been filed, only then can we go ahead with the project after seeking fresh permissions,” he said.
Assistant commissioner Gaikwad added that the building proposals department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has already issued a notice to the private developer to certify the stability of existing structures near the under-construction building and to ensure that the landslide doesn’t pose any danger to the existing adjoining structures or road.
“In case of any further mishap, the builder will be held responsible. The builder has been told to backfill the excavation, safeguard the site and not carry further work until permission is obtained from us,” said the letter issued by BMC’s building proposals department.
However, in a letter to the BMC, activist Santosh Daundkar said the corporation has failed to register an FIR against the developer for negligence, violation and damage to public property.
“After the piling no measures were taken to remove the mud and debris from the site.
Due to the heavy rains, the slush started moving downhill and posing danger to the bungalow and adjoining plots,” he added.
Indrani Malkani, chairperson and managing trustee of V-Citizens Action Network and a senior Malabar Hill activist, said, “What is the system of soil testing done before permission is given for any building?
One needs to ensure that newer constructions don’t weaken the hill,” she said. Echoing her concern, Pratul Dalal from Carmichael Road Residents’ Association said that this was the third such landslide in the last 15 years in the area.
“About seven years ago, a society at Tardeo was damaged and all the residents had to move out. The large towers being built need really deep foundations but it’s affecting the stability of the hills. Proper soil testing should be conducted by the BMC before issuing permissions for such buildings,” Dalal added.
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