Ritesh: This is a very sad development and side effect of indiscriminate destruction in the name of green energy, while being green, care should be taken to not usurp natures resources.
Torrential rains may have triggered the landslide on Wednesday that buried Pune’s Malin village, but experts say short-sighted government policy and shoddy implementation of its schemes are the major underlying factors for the tragedy.
Sahas Manch, an NGO working in the area, has blamed abject carelessness of government officials in measuring and levelling land for the Padkai scheme. Under this tribal employment project implemented under MNREGA, hill slopes are flattened and trees are cut down to develop cultivable plots. The NGO claimed that government officials did not survey the area thoroughly and allotted 25 plots on steep slopes.
Land was levelled by uprooting trees, which in turn loosened the soil, stone bunds were not built to contain erosion and nullahs were not cut into the soil to allow drainage. Such criminal errors caused the landslide, it alleged. On the other hand, massive deforestation for a windmill project along the hillside was equally responsible, said acclaimed ecologist Dr Madhav Gadgil.
While official data said around 28,000 trees were cut for the project, unofficial figures put the count around 3lakh. “By calling wind-energy green energy, those constructing windmills are given a free hand to do what they please without any regulation or monitoring,” Gadgil told TOI.
( Rescue work is carried out at the site of a landslide in Malin village, in Pune, Maharashtra on Wednesday. Torrential rains triggered a massive landslide that buried a remote village.) PTI Photo
30 students trapped under Hanuman temple debris
Around 30 students had taken shelter from the rain in Malin’s ancient Hanuman temple that got buried under the debris following Wednesday’s landslide. “Among them was a group of boys in the 18-22 age group. They had ventured out to see the overflowing river and streams but sought shelter in the Hanuman temple when it started raining around 7.30am. There were also some school students under 12 years who had sought shelter in the temple as the morning state transport bus that takes them to school in the adjoining taluka had not turned up,” said Sanju Kathe, a villager who works as a driver in Pune.
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Had landslide occurred a few hours later, they would’ve lived