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VVMC issues eviction notices in 18 landslide-prone areas; residents refuse to vacate

ByMegha Sood
Jun 15, 2024 09:04 AM IST

Despite several warnings and notices, the residents have refused to vacate their premises and have asked the government to take steps to ensure their safety

MUMBAI: The Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) has issued eviction notices to the residents of 18 landslide-prone areas in the region to prevent any tragedies during the monsoon season. However, the residents, primarily labourers and lowly paid factory workers, are refusing to evacuate, saying they have nowhere else to go.

VVMC issues eviction notices in 18 landslide-prone areas; residents refuse to vacate

After several audits of the region, civic officials identified these 18 landslide-prone areas: Moregaon, Achole, Padkhad Pada, Panch Amba, Shirdi Nagar, Kaju Pada, Nilegaon, Valai Pada, Navjeevan, Sativali Khind, Waghral Pada, Rajavali, Waghral Pada Naka, Kunda Pada, Sativali, Janaki Pada, Gokhivare, Alan Pada, etc in Vasai, Nalasopara and Virar.

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“In these areas, people have lost their lives due to the stones falling during the rainy season, which we have studied over the years. Many of these places have illegal encroachments and settlements located in dangerous areas,” Sadanand Purav, deputy municipal commissioner, said.

“For the safety of these residents in the landslide-prone areas, a public awareness campaign was undertaken using megaphones and banners on auto-rickshaws. We called upon the people to leave these areas or be cautious during rainfall,” added Purav.

Despite several warnings and notices, the residents have refused to vacate their premises and have asked the government to take steps to ensure their safety. “We do not have any other place to go. If the government knew that the construction was illegal, they should not have allowed the sale of these houses here,” said Vikram Thapa, who works as a cable technician in Borivali.

“We are poor people and have nowhere else to go. We have been asking the VVMC officials to take measures to avoid landslides, but they have done nothing so far,” said Ranjeet Pawar, a resident of Achole, Nalasopara East. Most residents bought homes in these areas as they were very cheap, despite being aware of the risks.

Swapnil D’Cunha, an activist from the area, said that he had written to the VVMC about the illegal construction on forest land and requested the revenue authorities to make panchnamas, but nothing was done. He also alleged that land mafias have been carrying out illegal construction in the hilly areas, which has gone unchecked, thereby making the spots prone to landslides.

VVMC’s monsoon preparedness

The VVMC has assured the residents that it is taking steps to raise awareness about the vulnerable areas and that it is ready for rescue work if and when required. The civic body has asked its health department and the fire brigade to be on alert during the monsoon.

Dr Bhakti Chaudhary, medical officer from VVMC, said there are seven hospitals in the VVMC area where immediate facilities are available. Apart from this, six flying squads of doctors have been formed to deal with any emergency, with one doctor and four nurses in each team.

Fire brigade chief Dilip Palav said its personnel are ready 24 hours a day to deal with any situation. “On receiving information about a disaster, our team will reach the spot in no time,” he said.

BOX

In 2022, a major landslide in the Waghralpada area in Rajawali, Vasai, triggered by incessant rainfall, killed two persons of a family and injured two others. The area is part of the Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. It was discovered that the constructions had encroached on the hill.

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