A 40-year-old man and his 10-year-old son died, as the wall of their house in Adharsh Chawl in Kalwa collapsed, following a landslide in Parsik Hill near Atkoneshwar Nagar around 12.30am on Tuesday.
Locals rescued Birendra Jaswar and his son, Sunny, from under the debris, and rushed them to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Hospital in Kalwa, where they were declared dead on arrival. Jaswar’s wife Neelam, 35, escaped with minor injuries to her hand, as she was sleeping away from the wall.
“The incident took place near Dyanganga school, which is a landslide-prone area. Huge rocks came crashing down covering the house. At least 70 residents from 20 families in the slum were shifted to a nearby school at night,” said Santosh Kadam, chief of Regional Disaster Management Cell (RDMC) of Thane Municipal Corporation.
“Jaswar was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was ailing for a few days. He did not work, while Neelam took up odd jobs,” said a relative, adding the wall was built using low quality bricks and construction material.
Lalchand Yadav, 32, an autorickshaw driver, who lives in the house adjoining the Jaswars’, said, “I returned home after my shift and was going to sleep when I saw boulders coming down the hill and the wall started to cave in. We called out to Jaswar, but the heavy rain drowned out our voice. By the time we could reach his house, the wall collapsed.”
The entire Parsik Hill is encroached by more than 3,000 slum dwellers. “The forest department has evacuated us from our homes, but we have nowhere to go. We were given a temporary shelter in the school, but the authorities haven’t given us an alternative accommodation. We are forced to look for a house in the rain,” said Yadav.
An officer from the department said, “We had sent notices to all people in landslide-prone areas to vacate their homes before the monsoon. But people didn’t agree to it.”
The forest department had proposed a safety wall between the mountain and slums to ensure safety of residents.
“The ₹16-crore wall will be constructed from Mumbra to actor Nutan’s residence in Parsik Hill. The work will begin after the rains,” said the officer.