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Mumbai civic body destroyed Malad wall collapse evidence: Expert panel

The retaining wall of the reservoir in Kurar collapsed last Tuesday, killing at least 29 and injuring more than 120 residents of the adjoining slums.

mumbai Updated: Jul 11, 2019 00:36 IST
Mehul R Thakkar
Mehul R Thakkar
Hindustan Times
BMC,Mumbai civic body,Malad wall collapse
People search for their belongings after the water receded at the wall collapse site.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

A team of independent experts investigating the July 2 Malad wall collapse has accused the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of destroying evidence by pulling down the damaged portions. The civic body, however, claimed it was done for security purposes.

The retaining wall of the reservoir in Kurar collapsed last Tuesday, killing at least 29 and injuring more than 120 residents of the adjoining slums of Pimpri Pada and Appa Pada. After the incident, BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi appointed a team of experts from several non-government and social organisations to look into the lapses. Portions of the wall that had begun to tilt were razed.

The team said the delay in completing rehabilitation of those living near the wall of the reservoir, which has been going on since 1999, aggravated the impact of the tragedy. They also alleged the disaster management cell of the BMC failed to warn people of water accumulation due to heavy rain or the risk involved.

Sitaram Shelar, an activist who is part of panel, said, “There was no need to start demolishing the damaged portions of the retaining wall. What will the technical committee appointed by the BMC investigate now? They should have kept the damaged portions of the wall untouched as evidence.”

The committee is expected to submit its report, citing recommendations for rehabilitation of victims, in the next few days.

Jamshed Sukhadwala, a structural engineer, said, “The BMC should have just barricaded the wall. It was obvious that studying the damaged portion will be important to carry out a detailed investigation.”

Ashok Tawadia, chief engineer of the hydraulics department in BMC, said, “No evidence has been destroyed, and the technical committee is currently investigating the case. The intact portion of the wall is still there. Everything will be out in the report in the next 15 days.”

First Published: Jul 11, 2019 00:30 IST