A portion of a stone wall crashed right outside Adil Driver’s bedroom window in Parsi colony, but rain is impeding clearance; he wants permanent relocation.
Each time it rains, Adil Behram Driver rushes to his bedroom window and warily eyes a hillock 3 ft away. Nineteen days after a landslide sent a portion of a stone wall abutting the hillock tumbling towards the 16-storey Baria building-3 in Gamadia Colony, Tardeo, neither have the boulders been cleared nor have Driver and his family been moved out.
Article by Linah Baliga | Mumbai Mirror
The Parsi colony houses 18 buildings dating back 70 years, four of which are in the close proximity of the hillock near Forjett Hill. The wall was built 20 ft high in three layers in 2006 in a stair-step formation, with large stones forming the first level.
Around 5 am on July 27, Driver, his wife and two daughters were awakened by loud noises. “I immediately shut the windows of my room and the kitchen,” said Driver. Within seconds, the rumble grew louder. When the noises died down, Driver assessed the damage: rubble from the base of the wall had filled the narrow path forming the periphery of the colony, just outside his bedroom window on the ground floor.
Soon after the landslide, the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), which owns the colony, offered to move his family out to a neighbouring building for 15 days, while tin sheets with scaffolding were propped up to cover the gaping hole in the wall.
But Driver had had enough and demanded permanent relocation elsewhere. “There had been smaller incidents earlier. The thick vegetation on the wall worsened the problem as it made the structure hollow from the inside,” he said, adding that he did not want his family to live in fear all the time. “One of my daughters is a Class X student and I have a chronic illness. I was willing to move to a smaller house, but the BPP told me that it would be more expensive.”
The hole in the wall is covered by tin sheets, but residents are questioning their stability
He feared that were there to be another landslide, rocks would enter his home. “The boulders fell near a sewage line. The next time, they can crash on it, and filthy water can flood my home.” He said during last week’s rain, water seeped through his walls, and questioned the protection offered by the tin sheets.
Dinshaw Irani, who lives on the second floor, and Khursheed Behram from the third floor said their families, too, have been living in fear of a big tragedy. “The third floor is at the same height as the crest of the hillock. If there is another landslide, even we can be affected. I can see cracks on the wall from my window,” said Behram,who, too, questioned the stability of the tin sheets.
She said residents have been told that clearing the rubble will take time owing to rain. “We have been told that undertaking such work at this time can lead to more damage.”
Another tenant demanded that the wall be replaced with a concrete structure.
Viraf Mehta, one of the BPP trustees, said a structural engineer and a contractor have conducted an assessment of the site, and the necessary precautions taken. “The BPP board has sanctioned repairing the wall within the next two weeks. We will be reinforce the structure to ensure this doesn’t recur.” He expressed confidence in the protection offered by the tin sheets.