The Maharashtra government has decided to permanently resettle all villages from landslide-prone areas, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has said. “CIDCO has been entrusted with permanent rehabilitation of the village,” he added.
“The state cabinet in its meeting, while discussing the tragedy at Irshalwadi near Khalapur in Raigad district has decided to relocate all the villages from landslide-prone areas in the state and resettle them in safe areas,” Shinde told the legislative assembly after the cabinet meeting on Friday.
CM Shinde also said that a base camp equipped with medical teams and ambulances has been set up at the foot hills. About 60 containers are being sent to the place for temporary shelters of the villagers.
Shinde explains the complexity in managing Irshalwadi-like disasters
Shinde, who was at the disaster site for the whole of Thursday coordinating the relief and rescue operations, told the house about how difficult and dangerous it was to conduct the relief and rescue operations at Irshalwadi. So far, 20 people have died and 8 others have been injured, he said. Though the number of those missing is 109 persons, the number of victims is likely to go up as at least 17-18 houses were buried in the landslide and inclement weather repeatedly hampered the rescue and relief operations, he added.
He also announced an ex-gratia relief of ₹5 lakh for next to kin of all victims and said that government will bear the cost of treatment in case of all the injured.
“As soon as we came to know of the disaster my colleagues in the state cabinet Girish Mahajan, Dadaji Bhuse, Uday Samant reached the spot in the night itself. They were joined by local MLAs Prashant Thakur and Mahesh Baldi along with district management officials. I reached there in the morning and when I walked all the way up the hill, I realized how difficult it was. I bow to all those who participated in the relief operations and carried all necessary tools and machines up the hill,” CM Shinde told the house.
“We regret that despite having all the necessary equipment and tools necessary for relief operations to handle such disasters, we couldn’t use them due to difficulties in reaching up the hills and the inclement weather,” he added.
“When we realized that the machines cannot reach (the spot), we decided to rely on manpower. Several volunteers from Yashwanti Hikers at Panvel, Kolad River Rafters, Nisarg Group in Panvel joined hands. Villagers from Chaowk, Varose and Khopoli Municipality and members of four teams of NDRF and five teams of TDRF are still engaged in relief operations,” the CM said.
While reacting to CM’s statement in the house, Congress MLA Nana Patole said that the ex-gratia amount of ₹5 lakh is too little and demanded that it be raised to ₹10 lakh. He also said that the government should ensure that such disasters won’t happen again in the state.