Mumbai: Heavy rains in Mumbai brought with them death once again as a portion of Antop Hill in central Mumbai crumbled on Wednesday, killing two people. Fire officers and disaster management teams worked through the day, as more rain and restricted access to the landslide location hampered rescue operations.
Firefighters are forced to clear the rubble with their bare hands as no vehicle can make its way in the 2-3 feet wide bylanes of the area. Just days ago, CNN-IBN had reported how slum residents crowding most of Mumbai's hills are living on the edge.
RTI information shows that 327 hilly areas with over 22000 hutments have been classified as dangerous, while 9,657 of these are in grave danger and need to be shifted urgently. Over 200 people have died in landslides in Mumbai in the past decade.
"We saw what happened in Uttarakhand. The same thing happens here every year, and more people will lose lives as long as the government turns a blind eye," said Anil Galgali, an activist.
Despite Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan ordering an action plan, authorities continue to squabble over which agency should oversee these hillside slums. The government claims to have spent close to Rs 200 crore on constructing retaining walls to fortify these hilly areas. But with neither these walls nor any other safety mechanism in sight, thousands of people live in danger perched atop the crumbling hills.