Court orders breached, no rehabilitation for Pimpripada residents

Mumbai: Residents of Pimpripada's Kuran village, Malad (E) at a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday revealed, the Bombay High Court had passed orders asking the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to relocate the residents in 1997, in exchange for a rehabilitation fees of Rs 7,000. Twenty-two years after the court orders people are yet to see any rehabilitation plans. This, despite having valid documents and completing all the required formalities.

“Officials from the forest department and municipality come annually for inspections, but they never mention anything about our rehabilitation plans. If we question them, they refrain from answering,” said Prashant Dadekar, 29, who has lost his hut in the catastrophe. Today, Dandekar has no roof over his head, his mother who was severely injured in the mishap, is still undergoing treatment at Kandivli's Shatabdi Hospital.

In 1995, Bombay Environmental Action Group had filed a petition in the HC, asking to remove the settlements from Pimpripada since it was harming the environment. The residents of this area filed a counter petition and in 1997, HC rejected their plea ordering BMC to relocate them within 18 months. On the intervening night of July 1, a huge tragedy struck the residents of Pimpripada as the wall collapsed. However, nine days after the tragedy no medical camp has been set up.

“We don't have any place to stay, local organisations and neighbours are giving us food, but no legislator or leader has dropped in to check on our condition. They only show their faces before every election,” said Ramdas Gupta, a resident of the community.

While at Patrakar Bhavan a press conference, a civil activist team led by Brinelle D’Souza, presented a report stating the design of the wall was faulty and no proper foundation was laid. Worse still, BMC now plans to shift the residents to Mahul, a place termed as ‘living hell’ even by the National Green Tribunal.

“Now the BMC says they will be relocating the residents to Mahul, but according to the NGT, this place is unfit for any human habitation," alleged D'Souza. Meanwhile, Bilal Khan another activist alleged, "the Fire brigade and BMC officials demolished the shaky wall the very next day of the incident, only to ensure no evidence was found."

Till now the government has paid a compensation of Rs 4 lakhs to the families of 26 deceased and Rs 5,000 to 102 affected families. The body of missing Sonal Sakpal, 22, from the spot since a week has been found on Tuesday from a drainage outlet near Versova beach.

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