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After fire and demolition, Mumbai slum dwellers spend night on road near Bandra railway tracks

The fire burnt down at least 100 shanties and property worth lakhs of rupees.

mumbai Updated: Oct 28, 2017 13:48 IST
Geetanjali Gurlhosur
Geetanjali Gurlhosur
Hindustan Times
Residents of Garib Nagar slum at Bandra collect their belongings on Friday.(Satish Bate/HT )

Thursday’s fire at Garib Nagar slum in Bandra (East) left a trail of destruction, burning down at least 100 shanties and property worth lakhs of rupees.

People who were rendered homeless were forced to spend the night on the road which abuts the railway tracks.

Three firemen and four citizens, who sustained minor injuries, were admitted to the civic-run Bhabha Hospital late on Thursday night. The three local residents have been discharged.

The fire started at 3.15 pm on Thursday during a demolition drive being conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).It later spread to the ticket counter on the eastern side of Bandra railway station, which will remain shut until further notice. The Western Railway has made an alternative arrangement.

Tanveer Shaikh, a member of NGO Chistiya Foundation, said: “The authorities have not helped in any way.” The BMC said all but 35 of the 350 structures in the slum were illegal. Assistant municipal commissioner Alka Sasane said the 35 eligible families will be rehabilitated to Mahul soon.

“Whenever we try to demolish hutments, they catch fire. This area has to be cleared as it is within the 10-metre radius of Tansa pipeline. Fifty per cent of the demolition work is left and we will resume it on Monday,” said a ward official.

Several residents claimed they had lost belongings worth lakhs in the fire, and blamed the BMC. They said the BMC notice did not give them the mandatory 48 hours to shift their belongings. A father of three, Wasim Malik, who moved to the slum from UP three years ago, said: “When we heard an explosion, we ran out with the children. We’ve lost everything in the fire.”

Locals suspect a short circuit started the blaze. The report on the cause of the fire is still awaited, said ACP Arun Mane.

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta has ordered the demolition of around 2,000 shanties in Bandra (East) by October 31 for a cycling and jogging track along Tansa pipeline. Of these, around 780 families are eligible for rehabilitation.

Aarti Singh, senior divisional commercial manager of WR, said: “A pillar under the booking office has been damaged severely and can be repaired only after the debris is cleared. Railway services are operational, but tracks encroached by people have been affected.”

First Published: Oct 28, 2017 13:42 IST