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Pune landslide: CPI(M) demands probe

They claim it could have been a man-made disaster that got accentuated by heavy rainfall

Torrential rains triggered a massive landslide that buried a remote village in Pune

CPI(M) today demanded a probe into the landslide in Pune district of Maharashtra, claiming it could have been a man-made disaster that got accentuated by heavy rainfall.

"The government had adequate warning in the past few years when smaller landslips had occurred and the flow of the backwaters of the nearby Dimbha dam was one of the causes. But the government did not take any preventive measures," the party Politbureau said in a statement here.

"JCB machines (excavators) were being used on the hillside in the name of developing adivasi land but (they were being used) in fact to serve the interests of a network of JCP machine owners, corrupt officers and leaders.

"The use of these heavy machines caused damage to the hillside. In spite of the strong opposition of adivasis to the use of machines, the government did not prohibit their use," the CPI(M) said.

It said the tragedy was "further compounded by shocking reports that it could have been not a natural, but a manmade disaster which got accentuated by the particularly heavy rainfall."

The "utter neglect" of roads leading to the remote adivasi village meant that relief could not reach in time, which could have perhaps saved lives, the Left party said.

The disaster was "a stark reminder of the horrible conditions" in which large sections of adivasis live and the "utter callousness which permeates official policies and attitudes to adivasi communities."

While condoling the deaths, the CPI(M) demanded full compensation and a time-bound inquiry into the true causes of this disaster.